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“I can’t change the way I feel, I am gay but my family will never ever accept me for who I am”

Farook was 17 years old and suffering from deep depression with the turmoil he faced in his life. Desperate to confide to his family that he was gay yet at the same time knowing they would never understand or accept him, as being gay is a terrible sin in his home country.

Farook’s uncle, who drove a taxi for a living, saw him coming out of a gay nightclub. The next day Farook’s parents informed him that they had found a girl for him who he had to marry. They also told him he was disgusting and had brought great shame onto the family name. Farook tried hard to protest but they were not listening, his father slapped him across the face and screamed at him this was not a discussion. Farook was to marry this girl to restore the family honour.

Farook felt helpless and extremely isolated, he loved his parents but they seemed to be more concerned about what other people would think, than the welfare of their own son. Feeling desperate Farook confided in his closest friend, who encouraged him to phone a helpline.

Farook rang the Halo Project and spoke to a member of staff and told them his situation and disclosed he was very scared of his uncle and his father and what they might do if he refused to go ahead with the wedding.

We spoke with Farook over a number of weeks and advised him of his options, supporting him to make the choices that were right for him. Farook decided to apply for a Forced Marriage Protection Order which was served on his parents to not only prevent a forced marriage from occurring but also to stop any intimidation and violence. Farook had been receiving calls on his mobile phone, to encourage him to return home, some were of a threatening nature and all used emotional blackmail to make him see the errors of his way.

The police were alerted about the FMPO and his parents made aware, that if the order was breached it was a criminal offence with a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment.

Farook stayed in supported accommodation and has now secured a full time job. He received counselling to help him through his ordeal and is feeling a lot more positive about his future.