International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. About child marriages. (Paizee Mahmod, from Freedom United, 25, Nov,019)

Today is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and I want you to join me in demanding action from the UK. My sister Banaz and I were pressured into marriage at just 17 and 16 years old. Banaz was later murdered for leaving her abusive husband. Now, I’m calling for change so no child has to go through what we did.This is my story.My name is Payzee. I was born in Iraqi Kurdistan during the Iran-Iraq War. My family fled to Iran, where I grew up with my four sisters until I was about 11. My father went to the UK for work and brought us over in 1998. When I was about 12, my sister Bekhal left the family home. We never saw her again. I think that’s why me and my sister Banaz were married off so young, to try to reverse the “damage” that Bekhal had cause the family honour. When we got married my dad got praised for it so much. People in the community said he had brought his daughters up in the best way possible. During my marriage I got pregnant straight away. I didn’t want a baby, especially not with him. I think that’s because I knew deep down, I would escape him at some point. I did not choose child marriage, it ruined my future. It led me astray from my dreams of focusing on my education, it took away the best years of my life. can you join me this International Day to End Violence Against Women?In solidarity,Payzee Mahmod, Campaigner of