I’m in my first year of university and have just told my friends and family that I’m gay. My friends were great about it but my family have reacted really badly. My dad and uncle beat me up when they found out and I haven’t gone home since. I knew they wouldn’t be happy but their reaction really shocked and scared me.  They said they would be arranging my marriage to a woman as soon as possible, and if I didn’t cooperate, that they would kill me.

I contacted the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Society at university and they have been very supportive. They said I should speak to Student Support Services so I booked a counselling slot. I felt nervous about telling a stranger my life story but it was actually helpful to talk things through with someone who didn’t know me and didn’t judge me. The counsellor was concerned that I was at a high level of risk and put me in touch with the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU).

When I spoke to the FMU, they advised me not to go home at the holidays. I stayed with a friend of mine from uni, and the FMU suggested that the courts take out a Forced Marriage Protection Order on my parents. I didn’t like the idea of my parents being taken to court, so for a while I just stayed with my friend. But I couldn’t stay with him forever, and if I went home I really didn’t know what my family would do to me.  It took some time, but I finally realised that the Forced Marriage Protection Order was necessary, I just wouldn’t feel safe without some outside help. It means I will have to face my family in court, and that is something that I don’t like to think about. I know what they will think, they will think that I am publicly shaming them. I don’t know if I will be able to look my father in the face. But as hard as it is sometimes, I have to remember that none of this is my fault.

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