Case Study 2013

On going case:

Client- 22 year old young Muslim woman of Turkish origin from Waltham Forest.

Client was referred to Ashiana by an advice worker from a women’s organisation. She disclosed that she was a victim of Forced Marriage. She was forced to marry someone she never met and move to a new country that she could not even speak the language. Client said that she was physically and emotionally abused by her husband and her in laws from the early days of her marriage.

She was not allowed to see her only relative; her sister nor talk to her. When she managed to contact her father and told him that her husband has been violent and she does not want to stay with him. Her father told her that she can not leave her husband and she should stay with him and obey. He told her that if she leaves her husband and go to Turkey he will kill her.

Services offered – client was supported immediately; a meeting was arranged by her key worker to offer one to one support. The key worker conducted a risk assessment and provided information and advice on a variety of services i.e. financial advice, language support, DDV application, advice on health, emotional support and most importantly counselling, in order to support her with depression, isolation, low self esteem and feeling worthless.

The client reported that she felt Ashiana is her harbour to dock safely knowing that she will be supported until she can change her life. She felt no discrimination and experienced full understanding of her cultural differences. She felt being listened and valued for the first time in her life. She felt being empowered and supported that she managed to build her self confidence. She was able to make a decision for her life without fear of her husband or her father.

Outcomes – Started receiving benefits, enrolled her to college, registered with a GP, and started counselling sessions.

Case Study 2010

*MS is a young Muslim girl of Pakistani origin. MS is in year 12 re-doing the year due to not getting through to year 13, and is studying for her A’ Levels and is a very quiet young women who is very good academically and got good GCSE results. In September 2010 MS was flagged up by her teacher as she had become withdrawn and had to re-do her first year of A’ Levels again. When questioned she stated that her parents especially her mum was physically, emotionally, verbally and financially abusive and there were threats of a Forced Marriage, her mum was talking constantly of MS being a huge burden and not a ‘good Muslim young woman’ . She was referred to Ashiana for counselling as she wanted culturally specific support, there was already a school counsellor, yet MS felt that that counsellor didn’t understand the culture she was from and had already had an example where she had trusted a teacher to tell her some issues at home, the teacher ended up calling the mum and MS felt that she wasn’t believed as her mum convinced the teacher that MS was lying.

Counselling for MS was very much about giving her a space to talk and explore her difficulties without any judgement. MS was already in a place she judged her self as not good enough and felt guilty speaking out against her parents as this wasn’t what a ‘good Muslim’ girl does! Building up her confidence was extremely important. After 2 sessions, MS had stated to see the value of counselling and is extremely committed to what she refer as ‘her space to vent’.

Since receiving Ashiana one to one counselling MS has reported:

  • That she feels she is being heard
  • She feels she does have choice and knows what do so practically if she were forced to go to Pakistan to be married
  • She feel her confidence has improved
  • Knows where to access support
  • Feels her views are important
  • Feels she can challenge her mum, doesn’t feel emotionally guilty
  • Recognises that what she has suffered (Domestic Violence) is wrong and that it wasn’t her fault

MS is still being supported has 4 more sessions left of counselling, she had also received practical support re: finance and has opened up her own account and does get her EMA money direct to her own account instead of it going to her mum.

*name has been changed to protect her identity