Child marriage: the act of forcing a child to marry a man who is usually much older than her. This may sound like the plot to a movie, however, it is the sad and deeply disturbing reality for many girls in the UK, one of whom is Payzee Malika.
Inspirational and brave, Payzee has made it her mission to speak out against this horrendous crime as a survivor of child marriage herself, the same awful crime which took her sister's life Benaz in a tragic "honour killing". Payzee was kind enough to give us some of her time to share her story, activism goals and also touched upon her advice on beauty as a WOC.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
2. You have a really powerful story behind your campaigning to end child marriages - would you be able to share some of that with us?
I campaign to end Child Marriage with IKWRO, this is as a result of having my own experience of child marriage at the age of 16, unfortunately my sister Banaz, also had a child marriage and she became the victim of an Honour Killing as a result of leaving her marriage and falling in love with someone else. I know this is unfortunately the reality for many girls around the world, we may not hear about every case or see it, but it’s happening.
3. What is the current situation like in the UK with regards to child marriage? What can people do to help?
In the UK a young person can be married at any age via a religious, cultural or marriage that happens abroad and this is not illegal! That’s very shocking and dangerous. The law also allows ‘parental/guardian consent' to marry if under the age of 18. What we are asking for in our campaign is that ‘parental consent’ is removed so that young people are making their own informed choices when they are ready to, as it stands the consent is becoming a loophole for coercive control and force.
4. What advice would you give someone who is just starting out in their activist journey- any key resources or steps people can take to educate themselves better?
5. As a fashion stylist with Kurdish roots, how much of your culture and background impacts the way you dress
6. How do you define beauty and has that changed over time?
7. What is your skincare routine like?
8. As a WOC what do you think is most important when it comes to looking after our skin?
As a WOC I think the most important thing when it comes to looking after your skin is being able to recognise what is the right product for your skin type, it might seem to be stating the obvious, but I am only now realising not all beauty and skin products marketed are for my skin, its impotent to be aware of that, I would also say researching products to know what is really in them, using chemicals on my skin has definitely done damage on the past.
I remember growing up I would lawyers be told because of where I was born (Kurdistan) my skin could hack the sun, I didn’t need suncare, but of course thats not true! I only started using proper sun care a few years ago, I wish I knew how important that was for my skin!