Zara is 19 years old and is profoundly deaf from birth. She is British born from a Pakistani background. She is living with her parents and brother and has an older married sister. She is the only deaf member of the family. Zara came to Ashiana to seek help after her parents told her that she is to be married off to her cousin in Pakistan and he would come to live with her here in England.
Through adapted communication tools and interpreters, Ashiana were able to communicate with Zara. She explained that this was the first time she had been able to communicate freely with someone away from her family and college due to her communication restrictions.
Zara told her worker that she is in love with a young man who wants to marry her but not until she has finished college. She wants to be able to get a degree and work. However her parents told her that she is going to be married off in Pakistan to her cousin.
She was absolutely distressed. She wanted to know whether there was a way to prevent it from happening.
Her worker explained to Zara about the Forced Marriage Order that we could obtain as well as informing the Airport Authorities in case she is taken to Pakistan before we manage to obtain the FMO.
Zara decided that she did not want to go down the FMO route at this time but was happy to now know that she cannot be forced into marrying her cousin. Zara continued to access support through Ashiana and is no longer at risk of forced marriage. She was supported to speak to her parents and informed them that she knows her rights and there are organisations that will help her if they try to force her to marry.
She still has plans to marry her boyfriend and she is studying hard in order to make a better life for herself.