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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 March 2004, 16:50 GMT 17:50 UK
Betrayed into marriage
Field in Pakistan - generic picture
Nasrin found herself isolated in rural Pakistan
As the government considers how to tackle the issue of forced marriages, BBC News Online talks to one woman about her experience.

Nasrin had no idea when her family took her on a "holiday" to Pakistan that she was going on a journey that would see her lose her liberty, her family, and - for a time at least - her sense of self.

Just 19, Nasrin had spent all her life in Britain and was starting out in a career as a pharmacist when she was told by her parents that she would be going to visit the remote part of north east Pakistan where her grandparents had lived.

"My mum told me I was going to visit relatives, I didn't have any reason to doubt her," she explained.

But instead of a family break, Nasrin found she had been brought to Pakistan to become a bride for a local man chosen by her family.

I found it really difficult to trust anyone, I felt like everyone had betrayed me
"It was a big shock. I'd heard about this sort of thing happening to other people, but you never think it's the sort of thing that will happen to you."

Cut off from home in an alien environment, she found she had no choice but to go along with her family's wishes.

But the shock of finding herself a forced bride was to be followed by the even more alarming reality of her married life.

"We got married in May 1999 and it was basically a disaster," she said.

"He was really violent and we didn't communicate. His only way of communicating was with his fists or with that other thing men are violent with."

Nasrin soon made her mind up to escape the brutal marriage, and saw her opportunity after three months.

High cost

"I managed to persuade him to let me go back to England to get him a visa, then when I was back I managed to break away."

The cost of her marriage was high - her family tried to get her back and she was forced to break off all communication with them. Four years later they are still not in touch.

"I had to find myself again," she said. "I found it really difficult to trust anyone, I felt like everyone had betrayed me, especially because it was my family."

Nasrin has managed to rebuild her life again in Scotland.

She is now working on a project designed to educate people about the issue of forced marriage.

She stresses the importance of education in helping young British Asians avoid the experiences she went through.

As for herself, her forced marriage was annulled and she remarried last year and, with a young daughter, has started a family of her own.

She is concentrating on her new family rather than her past, but realises she can never put the experience fully behind her.

"Its always going to be something that's with me, you can't forget something like that, but I am getting on with my life."

The name of the person profiled in this article has been changed to ensure anonymity.



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