Forced Marriage (1)
I am an eighteen year old girl, I referred myself to Ashiana. When I went to Ashiana I was very distressed and sad about my life. When I was 16 years old my mother had told me that my grand mother was ill in Pakistan and that she wanted to see me. I loved my mother so much and could not say no to her and decided to go to Pakistan to see my grand mother. I was happy that I was going to see my father’s homeland. I never thought that the two trust worthy people in my life would deceive me.
When I arrived in Pakistan I was shocked to find my grand mother was healthy she did not have any health problems. I asked my mother what was happening. She said she was ill but she was now better because she heard that I was coming.
I felt very strange the people would come to see my mother and give me strange looks. I felt some thing was going around but I could not find out what it could be.
One day a lot of my mum’s family came to my grand mother’s house. They were all happy. The women were cooking food; most of the people were wearing clothes as you would wear at a wedding. I asked my mother what was happening. My mother asked me to go and get ready, you are getting married. I just went to my grandmother’s room and started crying. I asked my grandmother to tell my mother to stop. She said I did not know what to do. I approached my father but he said it is your age to get married. I went to my aunties but they refused to help me instead they were telling me how happy I will be after the marriage. I did not know which of my cousins I was getting married to. They were all praising him. I did not know what to do, every one was around me. I again called my mother and begged her to stop, saying I was too young to get married, but she did not listen and made me marry a stranger. After the marriage I stayed in Pakistan for six months. I told my husband to send me to the UK and then I would arrange his sponsor and will call him there.
He agreed to send me to the UK. When I arrived in the UK I started hating my mother and did everything which would upset her because she ruined my life. Then my mother started abusing me and forced me to call my husband which I did not want to do. I decided to leave my parents and went to Ashiana.
I received counselling through Ashiana. I didn’t contact the forced marriage unit. I feel a lot stronger now. Ashiana have supported me to apply for an Islamic divorce and I have received this. I am now rebuilding my life and looking into a career in beauty therapy.
Forced Marriage (2)
I am a 19 year old girl, my ethnic background is Pakistani.
I referred myself to Ashiana because I was in need of help and support and was told that this organisation could help me. When I went to Ashiana I was very distressed and sad about my life.
When I was 16 years old my parents took me to Pakistan and left me there. I was enrolled in an Islamic school. I didn’t want to stay in Pakistan; I hated the food and the school. Everything just felt strange to me.
My parents came back to Pakistan 6 months later. I was so happy to see them and thought that they had come to take me home. It was until a few days later that I realised that they were planning my marriage. I had no idea that of there plans. I confronted my mum and said that I didn’t want to get married but she said that I had to and that everything was now arranged.
I knew I had to act fast. I had made a friend and confided in her. She told me about the British high commission and said that they could help me. She gave me a telephone number to call and that’s what I did.
I rang the High Commission and explained my situation. They said that they would help me. They also asked whether I had any money for the plane ticket.
A week later I rang the High Commission and told them that I would be at my aunts house all day and wanted them to come for me. They did and they took me to a hotel. They were really supportive and looked after me. I was so scared. They then booked my ticket back to the UK.
When I returned to the UK, I was told about a safe house that could help me.
Forced Marriage (3)
I am a young Pakistani girl now aged 17. I have lived most of my life in Germany. In 2008 when I was sixteen I was sent to Pakistan after having failed my exams. My father decided to send me to Pakistan on the pretence that I was going to visit my mother but then he refused to let me go back to Germany.
After five months my father also decided to join us in Pakistan. Within one week of his arrival, he told me that he had found me someone to marry. The young boy was one of my father’s friend’s sons from a rural village.
I explained to my father that I was too young to get married but he was very angry and accused me of bringing shame and dishonour to the family. My father told me that he was ashamed of me because I had failed my exams. To add to my heartache a few days later my father divorced my mother and threw her out of the family house. I felt responsible for this and it made me feel ill and stressed. I knew things could get a lot worse.
My brother and sister were also summoned to Pakistan by my father and I realised that this must be to do with the wedding. I wanted to see my mother and decided to go and visit her; she was living with one of her relatives. When I was with her she received a phone call from her brother and sister. They were putting pressure on her to go back home. Her brother even threatened to kill her. I had the full support of my mother, she didn’t want me to get married at such a young age but I was very scared about what would happen to me and what they would do to my mother. The family kept putting pressure on me to accept the proposal for marriage.
I attended a wedding where I met some of my mother’s relatives who were from Britain. I was so desperate and confided in one of them. I explained about my current situation and asked him if he could help me to escape. I told him that I had British passport so he decided to help me. He gave me the British High Commission telephone number and I contacted them. Someone from the High Commission met me and took me to an unknown location. I stayed there for three weeks until my mother’s relative tried to find accommodation/safe place for me in Britain. Three weeks later, he had arranged accommodation for me with Ashiana.
I arrived in Britain and was taken to Ashiana. I am being supported by Ashiana and now have access to education and benefits. My aspirations for the future are to study, have my own place and be able to support myself and my mother.