British teenager, 15, was forced at gunpoint to marry her cousin in Pakistan
London ( Daily Mail + DIPLOMAT.SO) – A British teenager has told of how she was forced at gunpoint in Pakistan to marry her cousin before being raped everyday for three years.
Tabassan Khan, who has been given a new name to protect her identity was 15 and living with her aunt in Doncaster when she was told she was going on a summer holiday to Pakistan.
Her father was already in prison for murdering her mother when she was just 12 and went to live with the relative with her three brothers.
However, when she was arrived she was forced at gunpoint to marry her cousin, who was six year older and held captive by him for three years.
Ms Khan later discovered that the marriage had been arranged so her cousin could claim a visa to come to Britain.
She then fought though the Pakistani court to be granted a divorce and in 2008 returned to the UK.
Now she is working with schools to to tackle the issue of forced marriages with the organisation It’s My Right: No Forced Marriages.
The now 26-year-old told the Sunday Express: ‘I thought I was going to Pakistan on holiday. I was excited. Then two months passed and it was time to start the school year. I asked my uncle when I should go back and he just kept saying, ‘Stay a bit longer’ for weeks. After four months, he came up to my room with a gun and told me I had to marry my cousin.
‘I kept refusing, but he told me that if I didn’t do it he would kill my brothers. I was terrified but felt I had no choice. On my wedding night my cousin raped me. I thought my cousins were family. It felt so wrong. He raped me every night for three years. I felt I was a sex worker, stuck in that room. I was ashamed.’
Tabassan is also calling on the British government to do more to protect girls who are sent abroad to be forced into marriage.
She added: ‘In Muslim culture the girl is supposed to do as she is told. The backward people from villages in Pakistan think they can do what they want with us. Our lives mean nothing. We are just a way to get a visa. They will do anything to get someone over here. If they’ve family abroad, they gain respect.’
Now a joint operation called the Forced Marriage Unit has been set up by the Foreign Office and Home Office.
Last year alone it gave advice or support in 1,220 cases of forced marriage, the equivalent to three a day.
Figures show that 44 per cent of cases dealt with last year by the FMU related to Pakistan.
In a statement, the unit said: ”It is important to note that information on forced marriage has become more widely available, and advice on forced marriage is also provided by charities and non-governmental organisations as well as the FMU.
‘Since it was established in 2005, the FMU has worked with a range of organisations and professionals to increase their ability to support victims and potential victims.
‘The fall in calls to the FMU in recent years may reflect this.’For more news and stories, join us on Facebook,Twitter , or contact us through our Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org