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Moving stories from survivors of honour-based violence

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MOVING stories from survivors of honour-based violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation were heard at a conference at Warrington.
The one day event on the Warrington Campus of the University of Chester was organised by the Institute of Policing.
It promoted a multi-agency approach to managing the problems and heard from a number of speakers with experience of dealing with some or all aspect of honour based violence, forced marriage and FGM.
Keynote speaker was Angie Marriott, director of Diversity Employment Solutions Ltd, who is a cross cultural diversity consultant and registered nurse, working with the police and statutory agencies.
The most moving, harrowing and inspiring speeches of the day came from two survivors, whose personal experiences focussed the minds of the audience.
They chose to go public with their personal stories, to inspire other survivors, to encourage them to share their stories publicly and to also raise awareness of the ordeal experienced by thousands of women every year.
Patricia Olukemi Ajayi gave her account of surviving Female Genital Mutilation. She recalled how, as a very young child, she thought she was attending a party, only to find herself a victim of FGM at the hands of her grandmother. She talked about the trauma, flashbacks, and how she relives that day on a daily basis. She is now a registered mental health nurse.
The conference also heard from Rashid Begum, who spoke about her own personal experiences as a survivor of honour based violence and forced marriage.
She told how just before the age of 18, she was tricked into travelling to Pakistan on the pretence of a holiday. When she resisted forced marriage, she was severely beaten and feared she would be killed. To escape, she was smuggled out of Pakistan but had to return to the family home, where the violence continued.
She fled, pursued by her family and today still has no communication with her birth family.
But she is a former police officer and a qualified lawyer.

Rashid Begum

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