Rape Protest In Pakistan
A 30-year-old Australian lawyer was raped and starved after she was lured with promises made by a Pakistani man. In the representational image, Pakistani human rights activists carry placards and banners during a protest against the rape and murder of a child in Karachi, Pakistan, Jan. 11, 2018. GettyImages/ASIF HASSAN

An Australian lawyer was repeatedly raped, starved and locked in a filthy house in Lahore, Pakistan, after she was lured there with fake promises made by a local man who offered her a life she had always dreamt of.

Speaking to Daily Mail Australia, Lara Hall, 30, detailed the ordeal she endured and traced its origin to 2013, when she met a Pakistani woman called Rhianna on a train. The two became friends and Hall also got along well with her family, who she said gave her love and care — things she had always been deprived of due to a disturbing childhood — and thought her void was being filled by them.

“I didn't come from a functional family, so it was everything I was craving,” Hall told the publication.

One day, while talking to them on Skype, she was introduced to Sajjad, a relative of Rhianna who called himself as a lawyer. Both of them started chatting on Facebook and grew close over time. Sajjad made several promises to lure Hall to Pakistan, including promising her a lavish lifestyle and a Spanish-style villa in Lahore.

“He promised a grand, amazing and happy life if I would ever consider him,” Hall added. “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.”

Sajjad also became friends with Lara’s twin Amy, and sent emails to her grandmother as well, assuring her he would keep Hall safe. Hall was overwhelmed at the feeling of having met her dream man and was ready to give up her already established and promising career to settle down with him.

In April 2018, Sajjad invited Hall to attend his brother’s wedding in Lahore. Fascinated with the promises and the desire to turn her online romance into reality, Hall flew to Lahore but found herself trapped in a horror story instead.

For starters, Sajjad's house was not a palace, but a filthy 5-bedroom house with 20 people living in it. Sajjad tried to force her to convert to Islam and marry him, but Hall refused. She was then repeatedly raped, starved and treated with brutality by him.

“I was made to present myself naked after a shower. One time I had a bit of shampoo still in my hair after showering and Sajjad grabbed me, telling me I was an idiot and slammed my head into the basin,” Hall recalled the nightmare. “I was once made to lay naked in the bed with my legs open.”

Somehow, she managed to contact local Australian diplomats but they turned out to be of no help. Consequently, Hall wrote to Kaiser Rafiq, chief executive of a club for armed forces officers, diplomats and prominent business personalities, on Facebook, seeking help.

Rafiq and local police helped her get out of the horrible situation and she consulted the Australian embassy again, in a bid to return home, but the embassy refused her help again. She then opened a GoFundMe page to collect money to buy herself a ticket, and reached out to the British Pakistani Christian Association. BPCA paid her fines, imposed for overstaying her visa, and helped her go back to Australia.