Gabriella Gillespie – Individual Award Winner – 2015

Born in Newport, Wales to a Welsh woman and Yemeni man, Gabriella was 5, her mother disappeared. A year later her father was charged with (her mother’s) manslaughter and imprisoned. Her mother’s body has never been found. Gabriella and her three sisters were put in to care. Gabriella was 12 when her father – released – took three of his four daughters on holiday to Yemen. The three girls were sold as child brides, one of them, at 17, killed herself on the day that she was to be married to a man of 60. 

Gabriella was married twice and by 14 she was pregnant to her second husband. She had 5 children to him. She endured rape and violence throughout the marriage. She fled the marriage when her husband began to talk about marrying-off one of their daughters to clear his debts. She was finally able to escape and come back to the UK when she was 29.

Gabriella raises awareness through writing, media work and public speaking.She has written a book about her experiences: I met her when she was speaking at a conference earlier this year. There are also numerous media reports about her.