Rashmi was tortured by the police in her home country because of allegations that her family were involved in an anti-Government movement.
Rashmi was detained, questioned, beaten until she couldn’t move and raped repeatedly over 4 days. After she was released, Rashmi fled and applied for asylum in the UK.
Her solicitor recognised symptoms of trauma and referred her to the Helen Bamber Foundation. We began working with Rashmi in 2013. Her clinician describes her as being one of the most traumatised clients she had ever worked with. Rashmi suffered numerous symptoms of PTSD including deep seated distress, intrusive recollection and overwhelming anxiety. She also suffered permanent damage to her eye, which made her feel ashamed of her appearance. She was incredibly frightened of men, suffered intense shame regarding the sexual torture and believed that she would never be able to marry.
At the Helen Bamber Foundation, Rashmi began a very difficult course of trauma-focused therapy which lasted 18 months. In therapy, Rashmi learned to acknowledge, confront and overcome her traumatic experiences. Whilst Rashmi was working with the foundation’s therapy team, her progress was often disrupted by practical difficulties. Her welfare support was frequently interrupted, leaving her without any income for days. Rashmi’s claim for asylum was refused on the grounds that she did not disclose her experiences at the first opportunity. We worked with Rashmi’s solicitor to appeal this decision, explaining that Rashmi’s trauma was such that, without expert clinical support, she was not able to disclose her experiences. Whilst the appeal was in process, she was moved into unsuitable mixed gender accommodation where Rashmi, terrified, could not sleep and became increasingly distressed. We again worked with Rashmi’s solicitor, providing expert clinical assistance to request relocation to more suitable, self-contained accommodation. Despite all her challenges, Rashmi was dedicated to helping herself and began studying GCSEs in Maths and English at college.
At the Helen Bamber Foundation, Rashmi began a very difficult course of trauma-focused therapy which lasted 18 months. In therapy, Rashmi learned to acknowledge, confront and overcome her traumatic experiences.
With the support of an MLR, Rashmi’s appeal against her asylum decision was successful and she was granted refugee status. Our housing and welfare casework team worked intensively with Rashmi to secure safe, local authority housing. Once Rashmi was given permission to work, she was very keen not to be reliant on statutory support. Our volunteers worked with Rashmi, developing employability skills, identifying suitable opportunities and preparing for interviews. Two months ago, Rashmi secured a part-time job in a supermarket, which allows her to continue her studies and her treatment whilst enjoying incredibly well-deserved and hard fought independence.