NameSamah Riaz

I am a second generation Pakistani woman, that was born in the UK to immigrant parents. My biological parents were very conservative Muslims. At around the age of 7, I started to question the religion (internally, but was never vocal of it). By the time I was a teenager, I had no belief in Islam, or any religion for that matter. My biological mother had mental health issues and was very abusive. Although my biological father wasn't physically abusive, he was a bully. Very controlling, restricted my movements and completely violated all manner of human rights. They were keen to uphold the cultural and religious values, which I found barbaric and a complete betrayal of my feminist beliefs. Eventually, I escaped their tyranny and went to university and got myself an education (BSc, MSC and PhD in psychology). Once I was financially independent, I cut all ties with them. I was 26 at the time. Shortly after I developed PTSD. I am now 35 years old and still live with the mental scars of my 'former life', as I like to call it. Although I have a good/well-paid job, I don't have a family (i.e. husband, children). I am not a part of anything either. I have no-one to turn to. COVID-19 has made that harder. Prior to COVID-19, I was always out and about, socializing. In a way, COVID-19 has brought to light my past and how alone I feel. My friend suggested joining a support group and I remember seeing this organization on Channel 4 news some time ago. By joining the organistaion I feel it would benefits me in terms of a) my mental health a) feeling like a part of something/sense of belonging b) speaking to others in a similar position, (because it is really hard making it on your own) c) hopefully making local friends, that I can see (face-to-face) post-lockdown d) campaigning for the charity e) helping others in a similar predicament. I look forward to hearing from you.