I am a survivor of FGM, child marriage and campaign in memory of my sister Banaz who was murdered in an honour killing.
5 words to describe you:
Hopeful, determined, passionate, loyal & tired.
I have known Honour Based Abuse for as long as I can remember, I grew up in a very close-knit environment and I was always told to ‘be quiet, don’t speak so much, don’t play with boys’ especially as a girl I was always made to feel as though I should not be seen or heard. I, just like my sisters had to undergo FGM, at the age of 7 in Iran. I was coerced into a marriage at the age of 16 by my father, in that marriage, I suffered a lot of mental, emotional, physical and also sexual abuse. The abuse I went through in my life is something I am recovering from now at the age of 33, I am still having therapy.
Anything can be deemed as dishonourable, I mean anything! It was so hard to understand why something was deemed this way, it was never explained. It was just communicated as ‘you can't do this’ a lot of the time the explanation was ‘because you are a girl’.
My sisters and most of the girls I knew around me, cousins etc all had the same life. So we all just thought this is how we have to live. Sadly losing my sister to an honour killing. I am not sure if I would have had the courage to leave otherwise.
I still feel sad some days, not having my family, feeling like I don’t have a family. It took me a long time to learn to be happy, it was a way of life, I had to start all over again.
I am in contact with some of my family members, it is difficult to navigate those relationships because I have become so aware of the abuse, it is hard to love the people who have abused you and hurt you, some days it’s easier to have them in my life and other days it’s too difficult.
I experience internal conflict around my decision to leave, daily. How can you live with people all your life, your childhood and then one day they are no longer in your life the way they were. You can’t see them as a family anymore, you start to wonder if you should go back and just be happy with the treatment they give you, but then you remember that it’s abuse and not love. It's extremely conflicting.
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