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023 / Leaving Home

 
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It’s nearly coming up to two years now since I have left home. I come from an Asian Pakistani background so a girl leaving home who comes from an Asian background is supposed to be a really big deal and it is forbidden to happen. It was one of my life’s biggest and the bravest step I have ever taken.

The reason i left home was because when I finished college my parents did not allow me to go on to further education, they also did not allow me to work, they said I didn’t need to as whatever I wanted I would get. However I felt different I wanted to carry on my education and also work I didn’t want to sit at home and do nothing until they get me married off.

That’s when marriage talk started kicking in I was told that I would be getting married to one of my cousin in Birmingham which I was at first scared to refuse as I thought it will make all the family hate me and also cause problems between the two family’s so therefore I did not speak and mention anything. Once things started getting serious as when my parents started mentioning wedding plans that’s when it hit me I realised this is my whole life.

My life would change I didn’t want to be married at the age of 17 that’s not what I wanted so therefore I built up the courage to tell my mum not my dad as I found it scary talking to him. When I told my mum she didn’t seem happy after that day she made me feel like it was my fault she would drop little comments like it would ruin the family’s reputation, my Granma was ill at that point so I also had a lot of emotional blackmail going on.

Since the day I told my mum till the day I left home I was restricted from going anywhere I was not allowed to see my friends, they were not allowed to see me. I started getting depressed I wouldn’t eat anything I would smoke so many cigarettes a day and cried my eyes out as I felt like a prisoner in my own home. Then one day I was on the computer searching for some help with these kind of situations I found a number that dealt with the situation that I was going through it was called the Asian Women’s Aid I then rang and spoke to someone about my issue. The woman was very helpful she said that if I did need the help getting out of all of this that they were there to help.

After I had spoken to the woman I didn’t call her back until I actually felt that I couldn’t take it anymore which was like a month later when I called up and said that I have to leave she said that she would put me in a hostel where I would stay for roughly six months and then I would get the help of a key worker on a weekly basis who would mentor me and help me get through this. It was very, very scary but I finally did it I was told to drop my sisters to school one morning and didn’t go back home, it was such a difficult decision to make but if I did not do it I would be forcefully married and probably have kids being a house wife at the age of 18 which I did not want.

I had problems after that they did not just leave it at that my dad and brother found out where i was and would follow me and stalk me every day I then was told that if I didn’t get a restraining order against my parents, I could not stay in the hostel any more as this was not an ordinary hostel it was a safe house so I would be putting other people staying there at risk. Therefore I had to go through court and had to get a restraining order against my parents.

Now I have got my own place a wonderful job thanks to City Gateway I am a key stage 4 support worker, and also help with girls networking. I help out on youth work evenings and do a lot of mentoring with young people and I am getting on with my life, I am also doing an NVQ 2 in youth work as that’s what I wish to be a youth worker and help young people, I have also applied to become a special constable I have passed my day one of the interview process and have my day to coming up.

I do miss my family so much at times and to wish to talk to them but when I previously spoke to my sisters they just said they would only speak to me if I was to come home. I don’t think I could ever go back home as I am very independent right know and have made a life for myself and I would not know how my family would treat me if I was to go back home I couldn’t go through it again.

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