Violence Against Women and Girls Lived Experiences

VAWG Stories

Maira decided to leave her husband after years of abuse. Amina helped her call the Police after a violent attack. Maira was in Scotland on a spousal visa coming here from Afghanistan and speaking little English.

The violent incident happened late on a Friday and Women's Aid was not open. After the Police had taken a statement from Maira, we placed her in a hotel to keep her safe over the weekend until we could work on her case. The hotel was funded by the Amina hardship fund (donations collected from the community to help Muslim and BME women in crisis). Maira would have been homeless if she was not put in a hotel.

After the weekend, social work insisted they 'had no duty to assist' as she was on a spousal visa. Glasgow Women's Aid would only help her if she submitted a Domestic Violence Concession application to the Home Office which would provide her with a temporary visa so she could access public services. Glasgow Women's Aid were not able to provide support until Maira received her Domestic Violence Concession Visa.

Amina organized a meeting between a lawyer and Maira. Amina paid for an interpreter for the initial meeting as the lawyer could only fund an interpreter after the legal aid board application was submitted. It took 5 days to hear back from the Home Office and receive the temporary visa. Social Work then agreed to take over providing hotel accommodation until we were able to secure accommodation and support from Glasgow Women's Aid.

Maira has since been provided support and accommodation from Glasgow Women Aid and she has received indefinite leave to remain. Maira is learning English through ESOL classes run by Amina and has also attended a VAWG awareness and support session we delivered. It's frightful to think what might have happened to Maira if she was not supported by Amina. She would have potentially been sleeping rough, forced to live back with her abusive partner, and potentially deported. Amina provided her the necessary support to gain independence, security, and safety.

Maira has expressed gratitude to the staff at Amina and is a keen user of many of Amina's other services including the ESOL classes and Women’s Friendship Group.

Maira recently raised concern about her family in Afghanistan. Her ex-husband is well connected to the Taliban and has arranged for the Taliban to kidnap and torture members of her family as revenge for leaving him. The Helpline team at Amina have been currently supporting Maira and put her in touch with immigration lawyers and charities.

“Sometimes the reality of marginalised women can feel bleak but getting involved at Amina through Upward has really boosted my confidence and optimism. Learning how changes are made and what we can do personally and in our communities to help evoke it has been invaluable. Most importantly, the Violence Against Women and Girls team, Upward 2022 group, and every facilitator has been so kind and attentive to the fact that we’re covering quite heavy topics. It’s been a really great, supportive, and informative experience that I highly recommend.

P.S. It will really impress on your CV and in interviews.”

"The Upward programme was a really valuable experience for me. I thought it was a really thought-provoking way to spend the summer holidays which I probably would’ve otherwise spent in my own bubble not really engaging with the outside world. Instead, I realised that these violence against women that we’ve all experienced in passing in our communities is for some people their whole life. However, the Upward team and the group of girls you spend all this time with provide you a really nice outlet for unpacking these community traumas in a way that we can all heal together and try to find a way forwards. Young women, especially when you put us together, can be such a powerful force for good. And Upward taught me that you should never just let the status quo persist but stand up against it."

Upward Programme Testimonials

VAWG Testimonials