In the low-quality police video that shows her giving a statement about her husband's brutal, chronic physical abusiveness, she looks more beautiful than any movie star. Born in 1985, Banaz Mahmod was a Kurdish Muslim whose parents, having been granted asylum by the U.K., took her from Saddam's Iraq to a pleasant-looking neighborhood in London. The usual "cultural clash" resulted. In 2002, when Banaz's older sister, Bekhal, started acting like an ordinary English girl, her brother lured her to a remote location and tried to strangle her to death. When she freed herself with a good kick and challenged him – saying, "Look what you're doing, you're trying to kill me!" – he "started to cry like a woman" and explained that their father had put him up to it. Bekhal, taking the hint, cleared out, cutting off all ties to her family and community.
Banaz wasn't so lucky. At age seventeen, her parents married her off to an illiterate chap, Ali, who was "literally just off the plane from Iraq" and whom she'd only met once. From the beginning, he routinely beat and raped her. When she complained to her parents, they took his side. (Her father loved Ali, considering him "the David Beckham of son-in-laws.") In 2005, after three years of abuse, Banaz finally left Ali and went to the police. In the extensive excerpts from the police video that are featured in the harrowing documentary about her short life and violent death, Bajaz: A Love Story, which won an Emmy earlier this month, Banaz described Ali's mistreatment of her in detail, noting that one beating had dislocated her wrist and that after one too many kicks in the head she wasn't able to "remember things so good."