Lara Hall, a 30-year-old lawyer from Australia, has stepped forward to reveal details of an ordeal, involving violence and sexual abuse, she endured in Pakistan at the hands of a local man she befriended online.
As Hall told Daily Mail Australia, her “living nightmare” started in 2013 when she befriended a Pakistani woman named Rhianna who later introduced her to Sajjad, a family relative.
Sajjad and Hall quickly bonded on Facebook, with Sajjad claiming that he was a lawyer too and promising her "a grand, amazing and happy life" if Hall would consider dating him.
"He said he had five houses and showed a purchase contract for a Spanish house he said we could live in and that I could decorate however I wanted — he even sent me pictures of the house. I remember asking him if he would ever lie to me and he said 'no' — he was very attractive and seductive," she reminisced.
"Sajjad raped me and his brother attempted to rape me on multiple occasions. I was a kept woman, I was denied feminine hygiene products and had to bleed freely, I was starved over long periods of time — on one occasion up to 14 hours," Hall revealed, adding that she continuously refused Sajjad’s repeated requests to marry him and convert to Islam. "I had come all the way to Pakistan to be a prisoner."
With her 30-day visa past expiry, Sajjad also insisted that Hall stay indoors to avoid being arrested by police.
Then, one night, when Sajjad threatened to “delete” her, Hall barricaded herself in the bedroom and called the cops who escorted her to a local precinct, from where she was released into the care of Dr Rafiq.
She eventually managed to safely leave the country with the assistance of the British Pakistani Christian Association which helped provide her with safe passage home and paid a $400 fine to the Pakistani Ministry of Interior, slapped on Hall with for overstaying her visa.
"The Australian Consulate and High Commission failed to provide any assistance and seemed not to take her plight seriously and this often placed Lara in a further set of difficult and dangerous circumstances", the organisation’s head, Wilson Chowdry, noted.
Hall herself also remarked that she was “troubled” by the Australian government’s handling of her case.
"Why did the government let me down? I'm speaking out because no other Australian should be left behind," she said.