A Skipton woman has been invited to attend a United Nations conference on preventing violence against women and girls in New York.

Yesmien Bagh Ali, of Brougham Street, is passionate about preventing all forms of violence against women and girls and has worked in the field – mostly voluntarily – for many years.

She said: “I was born and brought up in Skipton but my heritage is from rural Pakistan. This is an important cultural context for a discussion on abuse against women and girls.

“Unfortunately I have witnessed both directly and through family and friends the damaging effects of domestic violence, forced marriage and other forms of abuse. I would like to attend so that I can learn more myself to come back and share with the women in my home town what I have learned.

“I want to inspire other women like me and show them that despite very difficult backgrounds and circumstances you can have control of your life, escape violence and follow your heart’s wishes.

“I really believe it’s vital that people like me attend to encourage the policy makers to listen to women who actually have the experience, who have lived through these situations and can talk first hand.

“There are many women who are isolated, especially in rural areas where violence is a daily occurrence; this can be in the form of mental, physical, financial and sexual abuse. Within the Pakistani community forced marriage is still evident.”

Yesmien will attend the commission on March 4 to 15 with a specific role to advise on the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls. She will stand the cost – about £900 – herself but would welcome sponsorship.

She added: “I would be so grateful for any support. I would be able to come and talk to businesses about the experience and the barriers I personally have faced as a British Muslim women at any events to develop cultural understanding and prevention of violence against women and girls.”

For more information, contact Yesmien on 07906 294476.