‘Rejected by my family, raped – but proud to be gay’

Seyeda has been rejected by her family, abused and raped because she is gay – but is determined to be out and proud.

The 42-year-old from Pakistan believes she would have been killed if she had not moved to the UK.

“I can’t even imagine (what would have happened). I don’t think I would be alive there.

“But there is no looking back. If people are harassing me, I need to make myself more strong.”

Seyeda – whose parents died before they discovered her sexuality – was under pressure from an early age to marry a cousin.

“I didn’t want to because I knew of my orientation,” she toldĀ BBC Radio 5 Live Investigates.

A new report from LGBT domestic abuse charity Galop reveals around one in four of the cases seen by their advocacy service has been abused by family members – while one in ten is at risk of ‘honour-based’ violence or forced marriage.

‘Bad time’

University provided no escape for Seyeda. After a supervisor discovered her sexuality, she says she was forced off her PhD programme, and left without accommodation.

“I didn’t have anywhere to stay,” she explained. “If you are a woman on your own in Pakistan, you can’t live anywhere.

“I have uncles and aunts in Pakistan, and I was begging to stay (with them). But they weren’t ready to (let me) – and I was not ready to get married in the way they wanted me to.

“Once the extended family came to know about my sexuality, I had a bad time.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-46402267

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