‘They didn’t take me seriously’

If the police and social workers had only listened to 12-year-old Ruksana when she told them her father had threatened to send her to Pakistan to be married against her will, then she says life might have been very different. But they did not take her seriously, she says. She ended up in a foreign country and married to a violent partner who raped her and made her pregnant, aged 15. Although she managed to escape, Ruksana (not her real name) now lives alone with her young child in a refuge somewhere in England. Ruksana believes that by taking her away from school so early her parents robbed her of her education. And she says having a child at such a young age has hindered her career. Julian Joyce reports