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Posts Tagged ‘abuse’

Marriage Hell: My abusive arranged husband kicked me so hard our baby died & threatened to torch our house after I refused an abortion

PEERING out of her bedroom window at the 12ft drop below, Tina Kenworthy uttered terrifying instructions that would send a chill through any parent: “Throw the quilt down and jump!”

The frightened mum was teaching her sons how to escape their three-bedroom home in Leicester, in case her “monster husband” carried out his vile threat to burn down their house with them inside.

Tina, 49, had every reason to fear he’d go through with it – she claims he’d already dragged her down the stairs by her hair, beaten her up and kicked her in the stomach while she was pregnant.

After meeting her husband just twice, she was pressured into marrying him when she was 23.

Tina fell pregnant two months later, and says she noticed a radical change in his personality.

By the time their fourth son was born in 2007, she claims he was drinking excessively and taking drugs – and if she refused to have sex with him, he would attack her.

After 13 years of “torment”, Tina finally separated from her husband, but was dealt a devastating final blow – he left her in £40,000 of debt. 

Customer service team leader Tina has finally found happiness with a new partner, despite her family struggling to accept him at first because he wasn’t “chosen” for her and came from a different community.

She hopes by sharing her experience, it will encourage others in situations like hers to seek help and find a way out of abusive relationships.

Tina tells The Sun: “I felt like there was no escape. My husband became controlling very early on in our marriage and when he started to drink he would hit me for no reason.

“I tried to leave him multiple times and fled to women’s refuges but I didn’t feel strong enough or able to leave him for good.

“One of the worst times was when I was pregnant with our second child. He wanted me to have an abortion but I couldn’t do it and he turned really, really nasty.

“He kicked me in the stomach so hard that my baby stopped moving. Even after I had a stillbirth, I didn’t feel I could report how he was treating me to the police.

“Another time in the early hours of the morning, he grabbed a chunk of my hair and pulled me down the stairs to the kitchen because I refused to cook for him.

“At that time I was having panic attacks in the middle of the night and slept with my bedroom door locked and a knife under my pillow just so I could feel safe.

“I had to teach our boys how to jump out of the window because he threatened to set our house on fire while we were sleeping to burn us all alive.

He kicked me in the stomach so hard that my baby stopped movingTina Kenworthy

“During the worst parts of the marriage, I considered suicide because I couldn’t see another way out but I knew I couldn’t leave my boys with such a monster.

“It’s a miracle I survived and thankfully, I’ve now found a husband who truly loves me. I’m still dealing with the emotional abuse but I’m thriving and getting my life back on track.”

Pressured into marriage

Tina, who’s a Hindu, says the fear of “bringing shame” upon her family prevented her from feeling able to leave her husband sooner and her relatives often stressed divorce “was not an option”.

She was born in a small village in Shahkot in Punjab, India, and two years after moving to Britain in 1993, she returned to marry a stranger 18 months her senior.

She claims it wasn’t a forced marriage but it was “rushed” and she didn’t have time to get to know her future husband.

After returning to the UK she soon began to feel “trapped” by her husband’s increasingly manipulative behaviour.

After losing her second child in June 1997, Tina’s mental health nosedived and she became reliant on antidepressants.

Due to her husband controlling their finances, she struggled to find a way out of their marriage.

I couldn’t say no to him, if I did he would beat me up or tell my family I was not being a good wifeTina Kenworthy

She explains: “I was looking for a way to escape and the only way I knew how was to improve my education so that I could become financially independent.

“When I started university he became even more aggressive because he was losing control over my life and doors were opening up for me.

“In his eyes, he had control over my body. We were sleeping in separate rooms and he would force himself on me regularly.

“I couldn’t say no to him, if I did he would beat me up or tell my family I was not being a good wife.

“Due to him being a man they would take his side nine out of 10 times.”

Masked abuse

Tina claims her ex-husband would put on a front while visiting her relatives and played happy families so they would never suspect a thing.

“He was so manipulative, we would have a fight and then in front of my family he would be laughing, smiling and telling them how much he loved me,” she adds.

Tina claims she called the police at least 15 times during their marriage.

“In 2003, he was charged with actual bodily harm for assaulting me really badly, but pleaded guilty to common assault,” she recalls. 

“At that time he was truly horrible to live with, when he was drunk he would shout, scream and threaten to break the door down.

“In our culture, when you’re married you are your husband’s responsibility, which leaves so many ladies and young girls trapped in abusive relationships.”

In 2008, Tina finally left her husband after receiving advice from a women’s refuge about how to get a divorce and apply for financial assistance. 

He was so manipulative, we would have a fight and then in front of my family he would be laughing, smiling and telling them how much he loved meTina Kenworthy

She underwent a support recovery programme from the Helping Other People Everyday (H.O.P.E.) Training, which helped her to work through the trauma she endured.

“I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved, I’m empowered and believe in myself more than ever thanks to the counselling I’ve received,” Tina says.

“There are bad days but I have worked to become independent, mentally stronger and able to cope financially.”

Since their divorce was finalised in 2012, Tina claims she has not seen her ex-husband after he “fled”.

“Looking back I’m a much stronger person now and despite him taking out £40,000 in personal loans, I’m working to pay off what we owe,” she says.

Finding love again

As Tina slowly pieced her life back together, she joined the online dating site eharmony in 2014. 

A year later she met Andrew Kenworthy and the relationship was a world away from what she’d experienced in the past.

They married in 2017, and Tina says she now knows what a loving relationship feels like.

“We have arguments like any couple but we listen to each other, can give our opinions without fear and speak honestly with one another,” she says.

“My boys see it too and tell me, ‘Mum, you deserve this.’ When I look back now I feel like I’m lucky to be alive and to have found such happiness.”

Honour-based abuse on the rise

Abuse after arranged and forced marriages have come into the spotlight after a spike in recorded crimes across the country. 

New figures reveal that ‘honour-based’ violence has risen 81 per cent in the last five years – from 884 in 2016 to 1,599 last year.

The data, which came from 28 out of 39 constabularies after freedom of information requests by The Guardian, didn’t surprise several charities who spoke to The Sun.

They said the true extent of the problem is considerably worse than the figures suggest because many people do not feel safe reporting abuse.  

Meena Kumari, of H.O.P.E. Training, and Yasmin Khan from The Halo Project, are calling for more to be done.

“I believe this rise is the tip of the iceberg,” Meena tells The Sun.

She believes specialist training should be compulsory for all police officers, constables and volunteers and a national strategy to ensure all crimes of this type are recorded.

Meena also has called for more funding to investigate the “low number of charges and fall in conviction rates” to work out how best to help victims.

Yasmin echoes these calls for better training to recognise the abuse and more assistance for those trying to leave abusive partners.

It’s estimated that between 12 and 15 people die each year in the UK from so-called “honour killings” – but Yasmin insists that figure is “a huge underestimation”.

Among the victims is Banaz Mahmod whose family plotted her murder in 2006 after she left an allegedly abusive marriage and chose a partner of her own choosing.

Yasmin says: “Families will not report a missing man or woman to the police and there are also people who have been taken abroad and killed.

“Some will go to great lengths to protect their family’s honour, including hiring bounty hunters. We need to do more and respond better to save lives.”

For information or help visit get in touch with the Halo ProjectH.O.P.E Training and Consultancy or Karma Nirvana.

Tina’s story will be published in the book The Story Of My Life book and also featured on the Positive Minds podcast, shared by the mental health charity Our Solutions CIC.

Domestic abuse: Where to get help and how to make a silent 999 call

Yasmin Khan, the Welsh Government’s advisor for domestic abuse advises what help is available for victims

If you are a victim of domestic violence in Wales, or are concerned about a friend or loved one, there are many ways to receive help, advice and support.

On Tuesday, ITV Wales detailed how the daughters of a woman who was murdered by her partner have described the pain of watching their mother become a “helpless” victim of domestic abuse.

An estimated 5.5% of adults aged 16 to 74 years – 2.3 million people – experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2020, according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales.

  • What is domestic abuse?

Police forces across Wales describe domestic abuse as “any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.”

This can also include honour-based abuse and forced marriage.

South Wales Police said: “Domestic abuse can affect anyone regardless of ethnicity, age, gender, sexuality or social background.

“If you are suffering from physical, sexual, psychological or financial abuse, or are being threatened, intimidated or stalked by a current or previous partner or close family member, it’s likely you’re a victim of domestic abuse.”

  • How to get help if you are a victim of domestic abuse:

Anyone who is immediate danger is advised to call 999. If they are unable to speak, the ‘Silent Solution system’ enables a 999 mobile caller who is too scared to make a noise, or speak, when prompted by the call handler, to press 55 to inform police they are in a genuine emergency.

Whilst the police will not be able to track your mobile phone’s location by pressing 55 during the phone call, it will let the phone operator know that this is not a hoax call and you will be put through to the police.

If you call 999 from a landline, the Silent Solution system is not used as it is less likely that 999 calls are made by accident.

Many services have online chat or text messaging services if you are unable to speak on the phone.

Victims can walk into pharmacies across the UK using the code word ‘ANI’ and will be offered a quiet and private space by a member of staff who can support them;

The Help Hand signal – the signal is performed by holding one hand up with the thumb tucked into the palm, then folding the four other fingers down, symbolically trapping the thumb in the rest of the fingers.

Saira Khan: ‘Growing up, I thought domestic abuse was part of our culture and normal’

When I was thrust into the media spotlight after being on The Apprentice in 2005, I vowed to use my platform to talk about life growing up in Britain.

From a young age I felt that while I was British – born and educated here – I was not represented.

At times, it felt like Asian matters were dealt with by unelected community leaders, while the rest of the population was accounted for by laws and MPs.

Many women like me, who try to straddle two distinct cultures, see and experience things that others never do – arranged marriages, forced marriages, child brides, cultural control.

Many come here from places like Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, with no knowledge of the language, and are forced to be dutiful maids at the mercy of the families they have been married into

This is a generalisation but, from what I saw growing up, it was a regular norm. That is my truth.

Some people accuse me of only highlighting negative stories from the South Asian culture.

The trolls come out in force, some issuing death threats, in the hope I will just shut up.

But I have always made a stand for the women in my community because so many can’t speak up.

They don’t know who to talk to without feeling judged. And they could be ­ostracised – or killed – for dishonouring their families.

The guilt bestowed upon Asian women from birth is indescribable. You learn to live with it but that guilt shapes every aspect of your life.

And it keeps the misogyny alive.

MPs don’t want to discuss the abuse in case they’re accused of being racist. But silence results in innocent women being abused, violated and murdered.

I grew up thinking it was acceptable for men to shout at women and that hitting is part of our culture and normal.

It isn’t. It’s domestic abuse and there are laws in this country to protect us from it.

We need this message to infiltrate all communities in Britain.

Boy aged eight among known potential victims of forced marriage in UK

A boy as young as eight is among scores of children feared by judges to be at risk of forced marriage as official figures reveal police are struggling to bring cases to court.

The schoolboy – thought to be one of the UK’s youngest known potential victims of forced marriage – is among 71 children, teenagers and women in West Yorkshire guarded by special court orders since 2014.

His case came to light as police figures, obtained by the Guardian, showed that only a fraction of investigations into forced marriage result in a prosecution. Many are dropped because victims are too scared to give evidence against their abuser.

In West Yorkshire, five of the 51 cases investigated since June 2014 resulted in a suspect being charged.Thirty-five of these investigations were dropped due to “evidential difficulties”, of which 16 were “victim-based” problems, the figures show.

There was a similar pattern in the West Midlands, where 19 of its 31 investigations resulted in no charges – eight because the victims did not support further action. There has been one conviction so far under a new forced marriage law introduced in June 2014.

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Forced marriage in the UK? It’s a bigger problem than you think

Last month, seven British survivors of ‘honour’ abuse and forced marriage spoke out in public about their experiences. They explained how it felt to be abused by those closest to them – their family and community members – in the name of ‘honour’. This marked the UK’s first ever Day of Memory for victims of ‘honour’ killings.

The survivors spoke about how their families’ rules, or ‘honour’ codes, forbade them from doing things that many of us take for granted, from texting a boy to wearing make-up. They talked about how they were made to feel as though this was normal, and that the abuse that resulted from breaking these ‘honour’ codes was their own fault. Some talked about how they felt as though they had nowhere to go as no one outside their community was listening or willing to believe them.

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Student ‘in hiding after abuse’

A frightened student is at a “confidential address” after her parents abused her following concerns about her “westernised behaviour”, a family court judge has been told.

The woman’s father had told her “I am going to kill you now”, and said she needed to “die in a religious state”, Mr Justice Hayden heard. She had called police and left the family home with the help of officers when her parents were out, her lawyer said.

Barrister Katy Chokowry said the woman’s parents did not like her wearing leggings because they were “western clothing”.

She said the woman, who worked part-time at a McDonald’s restaurant to help her finance her studies, was “in fear for her safety”. Detail of the case emerged late today at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London. The woman was not identified and Ms Chokowry did not give details of her nationality or religion.

But she said the woman was in her 20s, had arrived in the UK several years ago, had a boyfriend in Pakistan and was studying at a university. Mr Justice Hayden was told that there were fears that the woman would be made to marry “the son of a family friend” and he made an order preventing the woman’s parents from forcing her to marry.


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Estrangement: ‘I haven’t spoken to my family for 6 years’

When I was twelve years old, I was helped to escape the threat of forced marriage and honour abuse. I’d seen it happen to other members of my family and suffered various abuses myself, although I was made to feel like the ‘attitude problem’ was mine. The local police force and social services helped me get away, but that wasn’t the end of my ordeal.

For thirteen years afterwards I struggled to overcome great confusion and emotional turmoil in an effort to maintain some semblance of a relationship with my parents. In this I was unsuccessful: the abuse continued, in less extreme forms that prolonged the psychological damage that had already been wrought.

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Forced marriage has always been a crime in spirit

David Cameron is right to criminalise forced marriage. This abominable, inhumane act robs people of their lives.

In deciding to criminalise forced marriage – the act of coercing a person to marry against their will – the government has made a bold statement: that this heinous, inhumane, oppressive act is never acceptable. The decision couldn’t come soon enough. The government’s forced marriage unit (FMU) provided advice or support in almost 1,500 cases last year, but the true picture is thought to be even graver. One study in 2009 estimated that up to 8,000 women and men, girls and boys could be entering into unwilling unions each year, often being torn from their lives in Britain to live in an unknown land with an unknown spouse.

Shockingly, a third of victims assisted by the FMU last year were minors – schoolchildren who suddenly became spouses either here or abroad –the youngest reported case is thought to have been just five years old.

We must be clear. This is not like arranged marriage, where two parties consent. In forced marriage, to resist betrothal is to risk ostracism, abuse and even murder. Currently, the law does not go far enough. Forced marriage protection orders were introduced in 2008, but breaching an order is only a breach of civil law. The message this sends out is a dangerous one: it says that Britain equates this enforced matrimony with mere civil misdemeanours.