"The news of the decision combined with how I was feeling after everything I’d already been through made me sick."
My name is Hazelle, I'm 27, and I'm gay. In my home country that's illegal. I was imprisoned and tortured just because of my sexuality. I left and fled the country for my life.
I arrived in the UK hoping to be safe and to be free to be myself.
But first, I had to make my claim at the Home Office.
I was half an hour early. It was in the middle of winter and it was freezing, but the security guard said I couldn’t go in because my interview didn’t start until 9. I said, “Please I can’t go back outside again because it is cold.” I started crying. But he just shooed me outside.
I was standing there shaking because I was so cold. I was frozen, I went back at 9 and they allowed me to go back in but I couldn’t talk because I was so cold
There was a lot of police there, so I was already scared. It reminded me of what I was fleeing from.
When I got into the interview, I was so overwhelmed. I wasn’t prepared for what the interview would be like at all. I’d received no information whatsoever.
I knew that they were just going to ask me what happened, but I didn’t know that they were going to ask me about everything that happened in such detail.
During the interview, the caseworker didn’t give me time to explain myself, so I couldn’t answer properly.
I didn’t understand why she was asking me a question and asking the same question in a different way again and again. I was completely lost, I was confused. She took advantage of the way I was responding and that I was already feeling so confused.
It was so traumatising. The interrogation finished about six hours after it had started.- Hazelle
At the end of the interview, she asked me, “Did you understand everything?” I told her I hadn’t. It was horrible.
It was exhausting, like coming out of a terrible headache. I didn’t expect that I would stay so long. I didn’t have any breakfast so I went the whole day without eating and drinking.
I waited and waited to receive a decision, but I received a refusal. They discounted everything that I had been through with those words in my refusal letter. They didn’t believe me.
The news of the decision combined with how I was feeling after everything I’d already been through made me sick. After the interview, I became more and more sick. I was hospitalised for a week and honestly, I haven’t recovered since.
I can’t talk about my future now because my situation is still not settled. I’m still fighting my case. I’m not able to think about the future, or to think about tomorrow.
Here are three things you can do take action and support people like Hazelle.