Something has to change…Suicide rate of Asian women three times the national average- why? Explores Faiza Ahmed

Asian women in Britain have the highest rate of suicide, three times the National average and on a par with soldiers returning home from war. (Journeyman Pictures – Why are UK authorities ignoring honour killings? – YouTube )

What makes the lives of Asian women so unbearable that they feel the only way to escape the horror of their everyday existence is to take their own lives?

We all know that there are issues within parts of the Asian community with forced marriages and honour killings when young people struggle to cope with being raised between two vastly different cultures.

The cases of Shafilea Ahmed and Banaz Mahmood are well known and were well-publicised  after they died. No one helped them when they were alive when it could have made a difference to these young women and saved their lives.

According to Journeyman Pictures, one of the main causes of suicide is because of young Asian women seeking to escape marital rape after being forced to marry someone they don’t want!

However, there are other stories besides these more typical stories of honour killings and forced marriages that don’t get told.

For example, take the case of Sara (not her real name) who stood first at every school she attended before the age of sixteen and was told by Asian peers that she was considered the most likely to succeed.

Awarded the prize for best O Level results at 16 and having been invited on an Asian radio show in 1988 ( Smeet Petite and the Karachi Kid on GLR Radio) after winning a competition, she and her peers felt she was set to have a bright future.

After being considered for a place at Cambridge in 1990 (She had attained the points at A Level and aced the interview at King’s College Cambridge), she attended a red-brick university (rated among the Top 10 British universities) from 1989 and graduated with a 2:1 BA Hons in 1992.

A hard-working serious minded young woman, she was a trained and qualified teacher by the age of 22 like her father, maternal grandfather and great grandfather before her. Sara’s life looked as if it was set to shine….

In the late 1990s,  she attended Thames Valley University for a script writing course and her tutor Tony Dinner ( a former head of the BBC Script Unit) told her in front of a class that her work was good and that she must never give up on her talent even though it was hard for new writers to get a foot in the door!

It looked as if she had it all until she became the target of a smear campaign by other Asians who quite possibly had a problem with her success.

This was even though she had been a child of divorce who had been raised without a father from the age of 10 in council housing on a pittance as her mother received no child support! In spite of this disadvantage, she had worked hard to build a better life and had achieved some success because of hard work.

Despite her efforts, she found herself being smeared as a terror threat to Britain by mentally unstable people connected to the father who had failed to pay child support and had been absent from her life from the age of 10. They destroyed her success after never having contributed to it!

Not only that but then she was targeted by other Asians who were rivals to that paternal family who called her “the daughter” of the man who had abandoned her at age ten because he didn’t want to pay child support!

They made her pay to the age of 50 for the absent parent who never paid for her when she was a child of ten and carried out a tribal vendetta against her!

This was tribalism, something that is prohibited in Islam which these Asians claim to follow! Other crimes condemned in Islam were to follow- slander of innocent women, spying and backbiting innocent people, harming the fatherless, the less fortunate the “widow” and her fatherless orphan!

A teacher’s daughter, grand daughter and great grand-daughter, she was rumoured by these pathologically lying strangers to be a terrorist, tart, gang person, a drug addict!

Gossip is a sin in the religion of Islam but gossip was favoured over 40 years of verifiable exemplary school and work reports and an enhanced DBS check!

Sara found herself being depicted as the exact opposite of all that she was after being exemplary! Her mother had raised her to believe that being good and working hard was the key to success but this proved not to be the case!

Sara was deeply humanitarian and had been a regular charity donor giving to seven British charities a month and doing voluntary work but they slandered her as a terrorist!

A teacher’s daughter, grand-daughter and great grand-daughter this teetotal woman was rumoured to be a gang person taking drugs possibly by Asian gang people taking drugs in a part of London where she never goes and knows no one!

She and her maternal relatives complained to the police and her MP about the abuse.

Sara even turned to social media in desperation and uploaded verifiable proof of the facts- 40 years of verifiable school and work reports and other documents that prove she has been exemplary and deeply humanitarian as well as proof that she had lost contact with her father in primary school!

She felt compelled to do this because in a society that has lost the fear of God, lies can be casual and even exemplary people can be demonised to save face for those who have done wrong especially when bigotry, racism or discrimination is involved.

Suicide is forbidden in Sara’s religion and as a devout Muslim she turned to her faith for comfort, a faith which forbids suicide but there is no joy in her life after being exemplary and the girl who once was thought by some of her Asian peers to be the most likely to succeed now counts down to the day when her life will be naturally over and she can escape the sadness of a life that feels empty.

At 51 she has ended up with no husband, no children. She has never known what it is to have a wedding day, to be a bride or to hold a new born child in her arms, to be a mother, to have a family that will be there for her in her old age to care for her as she cares for her mother. This is a sad ending for a girl who was exemplary.

Someone whose poetry had been published in the children’s section of the Young Observer in Asia in 1981, Sara never did write the sitcoms, novels and plays she might have written because of the stress caused in her life by other Asians who made her a target for the more sinister and dangerous people of other groups who harbour covert racist tendencies who would always try to demonise even exemplary Asians like herself in order to whitewash the wrong done to them.

There is good and bad in every ethnic group and sadly Asian women who are unprotected and disadvantaged in some way can be targeted by the nastier elements of every group who will milk their disadvantage. This is what happened to Sara.

After 9/11, local councils were given the right to spy on terror suspects. All it took for Sara to become a suspect was for an unstable, possibly envious person to tell lies!  While working at her local council she noticed a colleague repeating word for word things she had said in her own home, the same colleague who openly stated that, “Kicking people’s heads in with bovver boots is a primitive method but it works.”

She began to suspect that far right violent and dangerous racists who like to brain damage Asians were invading her privacy on every level as a result of the lies of other Asians!

She stopped writing for fear of plagiarism and all her talent was wasted. She has spent her life in fear of being brain damaged, the girl who had stood first and been told by a former BBC head that she had real potential, real talent.

Writers can bring millions into the economy if their talent is nurtured so it is Britain’s loss if British writers are wasted. Sara was also top ranked in an industry said to be worth $63 billion dollars a year to the economy but this talent was  also wasted. (Why the ESL Market is set to boom in the next 10 years –­)

This is a story less typical than the stories of forced marriages and honour killings but it is a story that needs to be told for if even exemplary Asian girls can’t make it, then what hope is there for the rest of us?

No wonder the suicide rate of Asian women is three times the national average and on a par with the suicide rate of soldiers returning shell shocked from wars! Asian women who are disadvantaged in some way are being set up to fail!

Instead of ignoring the problem, the Asian community in Britain needs to face what is wrong and work together to rectify the situation to make life better for Asian women. There is no excuse for apathy on this issue given the shockingly high suicide rate.

It is unacceptable that Asian women and girls can be exemplary and end up endangered and with nothing after following the rules and being perfectly behaved.

Something has to change…

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