“When women support women, they can heal, empower, and give strength”

My name is Lila Begum and I am a survivor of child and forced marriage, as well as a survivor of domestic abuse.

I have been supporting Bedfordshire Police as a volunteer for nearly ten years, initially as member of the Independent Advisory Group and now on the Chief Constable panel.

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I have worked both professionally and voluntarily for over 20 years, supporting victims of domestic abuse, forced marriage and honour-based violence.

I am always ready to support anyone who seeks my help, even if it is in the middle of the night or early hours of the morning.

Having my rights to live as a child, access education and live life without fear, were all deprived from me.

I  also faced many discriminations because of my faith and ethnicity, including discrimination from my own community because of being bought up by a single parent.

It all hurt, but this did not stop me from helping others, it also helped me to survive.

I was very fortunate to have met many amazing women who gave me the inspiration and strength to live life and my mother was one of these amazing women. During her own personal hardship, she never ceased to help others and stood by those who faced injustice. She spoke for those during a time where women were not to be seen or heard.

My friend Carol who mentored me to ensure I reach my potential professionally, Glenis who looked after my children when I needed medical care after a horrific incident.

Debra from Nine Red, who I never met in person but helped at a time in my life where I needed practical help to keep me safe.

Delphi, Rehena and Clare who helped me be heard.

My manager Joella, who believed in me and made my workspace safe.

My best friends Nasima, Jay, Shamela and Fsella who wiped my tears and picked up the broken pieces, without them all life would’ve been hard.

When women support women, they can heal, empower, and give strength, like how these amazing women did to me.

#WomenSupportingWomen

#WomenEmpoweringWomen

“Isaac died alone in the back of an ambulance, and that was the day our life sentence began.”

I am very fortunate to have some truly supportive people around me. In recent years I have had to rely on these people, as me and my family have had to face the most traumatic event of our lives – the murder of my brother.

On 25 January 2014, my little brother Isaac Stone was attacked on Costin Street, Midland Road, Bedford. He was 19.

Isaac was a happy go lucky person, he always had an infectious smile on his face – a very big one at that, which everyone would comment on! He was handsome, kind hearted and very nurturing. He had time for everyone, and would always be willing to help someone else.

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