It’s estimated that almost a third of asylum seekers living in the UK were tortured in their home countries. People like my client Faryad, from Iran. Faryad wanted to end domestic violence and honour killings and help more girls go to school in her home country. For this, she was imprisoned, beaten and raped.
Yet many survivors of torture are not given the kindness they deserve when they arrive in the UK. Many are treated with disdain by parts of the media, some people and politicians. We need you, our Freedom from Torture family, more than ever to show survivors solidarity and offer support: your gifts help us provide this vital support.
After suffering so much, Faryad had to flee, alone, on a 40-day journey in the back of a lorry. When she arrived in the UK she had no one. Yet the memories of her ordeal caused her constant flashbacks and anxiety.
“When I go back to that time, it feels like a very grey dream” Faryad told me. “I didn’t recognise myself. I couldn’t communicate. I kept crying.”
Thankfully, Faryad was referred to us for therapy with an interpreter and myself so she could share the burden of her trauma. She was a keen writer in Iran, so I also suggested she attend our therapeutic writing group, Write to Life. These workshops, and our sessions together, helped Faryad begin to find her way back to herself. She realised she had people who were there for her and wanted to help her heal.
“Coming here has been like a recovery process of coming back into society,” Faryad said. “I see my group as good friends.”
We cannot allow uncertainty and divisions in our communities to cause torture survivors more suffering. We need to stand with survivors, and honour the beliefs we hold dear – to protect them, to help them recover, to show them they are not alone. Together, we can make our country a fairer, kinder place.
Please give whatever you feel able to today and show a survivor of torture they are not alone.
Thank you for your dedicated support. I’m so pleased we have you by our side.
Therapist at Freedom from Torture
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