‘It was petrifying for me to make such major decisions in my life so I decided to think more about my options. I thought of running away many times but then I though I had no where safe to go and they will find me and kill me. I felt so lonely and I wanted to leave home because if I stayed, my family would continue with forcing me into a marriage with an old man’.
‘I just wanted to say a big thank you for contacting me today regarding my close friend. Just by knowing there are people that are able to help her has made her a lot happier, I was scared when she used to call me and tell me that she hated waking up in a morning, and blaming herself for the situation she is in. She is a truly special lady having to live in unbelievable circumstances, you have given her the hope that there are options for her away from feeling that the only option is to end her life.’
‘I will never ever forget that night even if I wanted to. I was really scared, he wasn’t gentle with me, and he hurt me a lot. I felt violated as this happened against my will. I was raped. I became a woman against my will as this is what is considered in my culture as you are a girl until you become a woman at the point that you lose your virginity.’
“Since I moved to the refuge, I have my own freedom and I am out from all the violence which has affected me. My life has changed totally and I can feel some peace in my life. Since I moved to the refuge I have the opportunity to meet with new people and make new friends. After I came to the house, I felt safe. From my support worker I am getting all the support, practically, mentally and emotionally. I trust my support worker and I can share my feelings with her where I can find happiness’
‘I begged my father on the phone; I explained to him that my husband does not love me. He hates me and he beats me every day. I begged him and pleaded with him to take me back and allow me to return. Every time, I asked, my father refused and said that he was my husband and I have to listen to him and do what he wants. If I didn’t listen to my father and thought of returning, my father would kill me. My father’s honour was at stake. His honour was more valuable than his own daughter’s life!’
‘In February 2010, abandoned and lost, I was found by Ashiana. The policing system and other DVU(s) failed to protect me and by April, 2010 I was being abused by everyone around me….immediately the ‘Ashiana-Network’ took over by becoming my refuge and my hope’.
‘I wanted to study beyond secondary education but my father did not allow me. My father told me that I was a girl and that I did not need to study. Looking back, if my father allowed me to study, I would be someone who knows her rights and how to protect myself. I would not have married someone that I did not love and had never met. I would have chosen my life partner. I would have had the rights over my choices that affected my life. I never had anything that I ever desired from my father’s home or my husband’s home. I only wanted to be treated like a human and to live like a human being.’
‘From the time I reached Ashiana, they have helped me survive, I found it easy to be open, I didn’t feel judged or that I need to explain myself as my keyworker understood. She was always willing to help, support, guide, she listen to my troubles, help wipe the tears, gave me comfort when needed and gave me sound advice, always there encouraging and I felt that she was really rooting for us to succeed to not let what happened to me dictate the rest of life.’
‘I really don’t know what I would have done if it wasn’t for Ashiana or where I would be right now, since being here my self confidence has come back, I feel that I’m a person again, much more independent and so much stronger, they have helped me build myself up again when I was at the lowest point of my life.’
‘I want to have freedom to make my own decisions, freedom to say no. I want to rule my life not other people ruling over me. I just want to have peace and happiness in my life without fears anxieties, and depression. I want a life like that. I want to walk on the road that I choose.’
‘Over a period of time, anxiety and depression overtook me. I became suicidal. If it wasn’t for the timely, professional and structured support that I received from case worker who interchanged hats in a seamless, solid and consistent manner between counseling, advocacy and outreach; I wouldn’t have survived this crisis. Thank-you ‘Ashiana’ for making me feel @ home, for coming into my life, handholding me because I was incapable of picking up the pieces alone. I can state with conviction that I would not have been able to survive on my own.’