The method is a last-resort measure to prevent a victim from having to leave the country with their abuser.
As much as we'd like to believe that we now live in a safe, civilized, humane, and fair world, the reality is far from this ideal world we imagine. Even today, in this so-called modern society of ours, countless individuals — young and otherwise — are tormented in the name of archaic practices that more often than not, are set up to benefit the patriarchy in one way or the other. Every year, an unimaginable number of victims are snatched away from their lives and thrown into the terrifying world of human trafficking, sex abuse, forced marriages, etc. Despite the infrastructures in place to avoid such crimes, the heartbreaking truth is that many of these cases still go unreported.
This is why Karma Nirvana — an award-winning UK-based charity that supports victims of honor-based abuse and forced marriage — has been attempting to raise awareness about a trick that could help victims discreetly alert authorities about their abuse. Referred to as the "metal spoon technique," it involves a victim tucking a metal spoon in their underwear before going through airport security to trigger the metal detectors. Doing so will result in the individual being taken away for a detailed search, giving them the opportunity to raise the alarm in a safe and private manner.
Speaking to Bored Panda, Anup Magnota, the operations manager at Karma Nirvana, explained that the idea for the metal spoon technique originally came from one of their call handlers nine years ago when they received a call from a victim worried about being taken abroad for marriage. "The call handler reacted instinctively and stated to put a spoon in her underwear and whilst going through security at the airport, she will have the opportunity of speaking to someone privately and disclose that she does not want to leave the country because of a forced marriage," he said.
If you're being taken abroad against your will for;— leboM⁷🏳️🌈 (@leb0_M) August 9, 2018
🥄 HIDE A METAL SPOON IN YOUR UNDERWEAR
Metal detector will alert airport security who will secure your safety!
RT FOR AWARENESS!! pic.twitter.com/6MR78JL6RZ
Magnota stressed that the spoon method is a last-resort measure to prevent a victim from leaving the country, "as we will aim to work with partners to ensure a victim is removed from an abusive situation before." The coronavirus lockdown has been a particularly difficult period for many who reach out to Karma Nirvana as "they experience constant surveillance by their perpetrators, who often are parents or their partner." Most contact the charity via email as it's a safer way of seeking help. Fortunately, despite the challenging circumstances they're in, "victims have managed to call for help when they went for a walk or call when the perpetrator was out of the home," said Magnota.
According to The Guardian, speaking of the metal spoon technique a few years ago, Natasha Rattu — who now serves as Karma Nirvana's chief executive officer — explained that when worried youngsters ring the charity's helpline, "if they don't know exactly when it may happen or if it's going to happen, we advise them to put a spoon in their underwear. When they go through security, it will highlight this object in a private area and, if 16 or over, they will be taken to a safe space where they have that one last opportunity to disclose they're being forced to marry."
Aneeta Prem, the founder and president of Freedom Charity, an organization that strives to prevent forced marriage through education and training, said that the summer is a particularly vulnerable time for children and young adults. "Children go out of people's consciousness over summer because they are away for such a long time," she said. "The victim may think they are going away to a family wedding, not knowing it is actually their wedding. And when they go they are often gone for a long time and don't come back until they are pregnant. Nobody knows what the true figure is because so many young victims are terrified of coming forward. But it is definitely much, much higher than what is reported."
If you are being subjected to sexual assault, or know of anyone who is, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673)
If you are being subjected to domestic abuse or know of anyone else who is, please visit The National Domestic Violence Hotline website or call 1-800-799-7233, or text LOVEIS to 22522.
If you have any information on a missing child, please contact Missingkids.org at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678)
If you’re a queer person in crisis or need general support please contact LGBT National Hotline at 1-888-843-4564