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IICSA published its final Report in October 2022. This website was last updated in January 2023.



Binali was blamed by family members for being complicit in sexual abuse by a relative

All names and identifying details have been changed.

Participants have given us permission to share their experiences.

Binali was raped by her brother-in-law.

When she reported it, her mother was furious with her for bringing ‘shame’ on the family.

Binali was born in the UK after her parents migrated from South Asia. She was the youngest daughter in the family. Her mother and father worked hard to support their immediate family and also had a responsibility to send money to relatives in their home country.

The family was Muslim and Binali and her sisters were kept under tight control by their parents and not allowed out. She says she used to argue with her mum about the restrictions they were under. ‘The boys on the other hand, did pretty much everything they wanted to’ she adds.

It was expected that Binali and her sisters would enter into arranged marriages with older relatives from their home country, who would join their wives in the UK for the benefit of the wider family.

One of her sisters married, and she and her husband Raja lived with Binali’s family. Binali says the couple had a lot of arguments, and her sister would often leave the bedroom she shared with him.

One night when this happened, Binali’s brother-in-law came into her bedroom and sexually abused her. She was only 10 years old and knew nothing about sex. 

She told a member of staff at school what had happened, and this was passed on to her mother and social services. ‘At this point I went into panic mode’ she says, adding that her mum was not at all approachable. As she feared, her mother was furious with her. 

Binali recalls with distress what her mother said. ‘She said I was out to destroy her family, and that it would be better if I was dead.’

Binali was so upset at her mother’s reaction that the following day, when she was seen by social services, she told them Raja ‘had only touched’ her and said her family had thrown Raja out of the house.

It was true that at the time, her brother-in-law was not in the house, but he often did come and go, usually because of the frequent rows with his wife. Years later, Binali found a social services report which stated that they had met Binali’s mother and she assured them that the abuse would not happen again. Binali did not hear from social services again.

Raja came back to the house and he began raping Binali in the room where she was studying. She has vivid memories of him wedging the door shut. Binali’s mother and sisters would be in the house when he assaulted her. 

This abuse continued regularly for about four years until her sister and Raja separated. She is not sure how many times it happened and she finds this very upsetting now. 

By the time she was in her mid-teens, Binali was having a lot of arguments with her family, who were blaming her for attracting the attention of her brother-in-law.

When she was at college she sought counselling. She left the family home for a while but the family put her under great emotional pressure to return.

After an argument, Binali left the house and decided to go to the police to report Raja. She comments ‘Previously I had wanted a mother more than I needed justice’.

Other family members were interviewed by the police. One agreed to give a statement in support of Binali, but her mother refused to cooperate. Binali heard later that her mother had been in tears during the police interview, but because of the ‘shame’, not out of compassion for her daughter.  

Raja left the country before the police could interview him. Binali has no contact with her family.

She says that for many years, she blamed herself for not ‘saying no’ to Raja, when he was raping her. She wishes that social services had intervened effectively when she was 10 and first reported abuse by Raja. She says that if they had, ‘Eight or nine years of my life would not have been destroyed … there has never been a day gone by since I was age 10 when I’ve not thought of what happened’.

Binali is also still tormented by feelings that she is not believed. ‘I feel let down by everyone I have come across … it makes me so sad’ she says.

However, she refuses to see herself as a victim of abuse. She says ‘I want to live a better life after I was dealt a bad hand’. 

She adds ‘At least I can say I’ve tried my hardest … if I can at least help one other person … especially for many South Asian girls who suffer abuse’. 

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