Monday, 26 March 2012
""My mother-in-law hit me in the face so hard that blood poured from my ear," she told me. "I didn't know anything about the outside world, I couldn't speak the language and didn't know anything about money."

When Qawal hurt her leg after being thrown down the stairs, her mother-in-law came with her to the doctor so she was afraid to ask for help.

"They kept me a prisoner in the house. Once I was locked in the upstairs bedroom for 13 days," said Qawal.

"I thought the only way I am going to get out is through the upstairs window or by killing myself. I just wanted to end it."

Qawal finally escaped, barefoot in the snow, and ended up in the refuge.

The only way out

The suicide rate amongst south Asian women in Britain is three times the national average, as women who see no other way out of an abusive marriage take what they see as the only way out and kill themselves.

And there are between 10 and 12 cases of "honour" killing a year, all of them characterised by extreme violence.

Often several relatives are involved and the murder is sanctioned by the wider family.

Women in the Kurdish and Iranian communities are also controlled by "honour". I met a young Kurdish woman, Leila, who came to the UK to join her husband, who turned out to be violent and unstable.

"He put his hands around my throat and said he would kill me and cut me in pieces and put me in a rubbish bag - no one would know," said Leila softly.

She ended up in hospital but she was pregnant and returned to her husband until things got so bad the police were called, and she was able to esc But running away has not ended the threat to her life.

"The dishonourable thing I did was to go into a refuge because in Kurdistan a refuge is seen as a very bad place", Leila told me."

Read the whole article here.


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