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The Push: The Insidious Nature of Invisible Abuse

Channel 4 recently aired a two part documentary, entitled “The Push” which follows the trial of Kashif Anwar and the alleged murder of Fawziyah Javed, and their unborn child.

It is likely all of us will have seen this in the news, and many will have seen that in April 2023 Mr Anwar was convicted of murdering Fawziyah, by pushing her off Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, which sits at 823ft high. The incident took place on 2nd September 2021.

“The Push” admirably explores not just the legal trial, but the relationship between Fawziyah and Kashif, which is shown to be, at its core, abusive. As a documentary, rather than a fictional series, it is especially chilling.

We hear audio recordings from the 999 call, see video footage of the victim being forcibly manhandled into a vehicle and hear excerpts from transcripts where she reported matters to support charities and the police. The Push shows that Fawziyah appeared to be “biding her time” until she felt she could safely leave. The relationship we see portrayed in The Push, and the evidence that was put to the jury, comprehensively paints a picture of one characterized by controlling, coercive behaviour, as well as emotional and psychological abuse.

Only Fawziyah’s parents had any idea as to what she was experiencing behind closed doors. Even in her role as a solicitor, her abuse went unseen, and unheard. To the outside world, Fawziyah and Kashif were a young, attractive, happy couple; newlyweds with everything to live for.

Some of the witnesses invited to testify report having heard loud, intense arguments, and at times Mr Anwar as having made comments suggesting it would be good if she died in childbirth. We hear accounts of her being shamed, belittled and ordered as to how to behave. Perhaps once upon a time, these kinds of exchanges would be seen as unkind, but not fall within any definition of “abuse”. Historically, there was a dismissive attitude to any abuse without a physical element.

However, the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 defines abuse as follows:

“Behaviour is “abusive” if it consists of any of the following—

(a)physical or sexual abuse;

(b)violent or threatening behaviour;

(c)controlling or coercive behaviour;

(d)economic abuse (see subsection (4));

(e)psychological, emotional or other abuse;

Fawziyah’s tragic story appears to be one of an abused woman, who made her move to get free too late. Statistically, it is still the case that a majority of reported incidents of Domestic Abuse see a female victim. In 2021 in the UK alone, there were 2.4m cases of Domestic Abuse reported, with 1.7m of those being women.

Whatever gender you are, if you are experiencing Domestic Abuse, please contact us to see how we can help you, as well as reporting any incidents to the Police as soon as possible. The Family Court have a range of powers that can – at the very least – put distance between you and an abusive partner, ex partner, or in some cases even family members.

We are ready and able to assist you if you are experiencing Domestic Abuse and need to escape from it.

Please note that Legal Aid may be available in cases where Domestic Abuse is a feature. If we think you may be eligible, we can signpost you accordingly.

You can watch the episodes in full here:

Article by: Antonia Kirby | Senior Solicitor; Family Law 

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