Blind survivor of abuse aiming for the top

Saliha Rashid with her degree at Leeds Trinity University
Saliha Rashid with her degree at Leeds Trinity University
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INSPIRATIONAL SURVIVOR Saliha Rashid is now hoping to become a barrister after landing a university degree.

The 21-year-old campaigner, who is registered blind, is a survivor of honour-based abuse.

And she has used her experiences to campaign for the rights of Asian women at a national level by speaking at the House of Lords.

She was presented with her first-class degree in psychology at Leeds Trinity University, in Horsforth.

Saliha, who fled from her family during her first year at university, is hoping to become a barrister in the field of criminal and human rights law.

She said: “It is unbelievable and I still have to pinch myself when I say that I have got a first degree.

“Everything in my life was controlled from the friends I had to where I went.

“I couldn’t have a phone until I was 18 and everything was in my family’s control.

“I made three attempts to leave but when I left two years ago that was the last time.

“Three years ago, I considered withdrawing from university.

“I was told that because I am blind and an Asian woman, I cannot have big aspirations.

“But something inside me said No.”

Saliha is also a volunteer for West Yorkshire charity Karma Nirvana and often provides support and advice to women who are struggling with honour-based violence and abuse.

She also gave evidence to the forced marriage commission last October in support of the criminalisation of forced marriage.

Saliha, who was the disabilities officer for Leeds Trinity Students’ Union in her second year, added: “It is very empowering and I am inspired by every single survivor I speak to.

“It was a challenge to cope with my university work and I never thought that this would be possible. I now realise that the world is my oyster and I can follow my dreams.”