A Tale Of Forced Marriage

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Each year, countless teenagers are forced into forced marriages, mostly abroad. It just happens to be one of those ethnic issues that everyone is very well aware of, but yet it is being treated with hesitation, for fear of offending cultural sensitivities.

This brings up many questions, opinions and even laws that aren’t really in place yet, let alone, being enforced.

The difference between forced and arranged ( if there is one? )

Apparently an arranged marriage is different to a forced marriage, meaning the arranged union is supposedly performed with the consent of both parties (parents). While on the other hand, forced marriages are practiced in the name of culture and tradition as well, with the difference that no religion anywhere in the world officially condones it.

But where do forced marriages begin? With an arranged deal between parents maybe?

Many would argue that it’s all part of their religion, their culture and those families live in Britain or in any other “developed” country, they should follow whatever they believe in.

So can we enforce a law that forbids them to continue what they have been doing and practicing for centuries?

Forced, arranged, whatever… this is certainly one thing about religion and culture and tradition, whatever you want to call it, I absolutely despise: one way or another, you are “being forced” to believe in something or do things you yourself haven’t chosen, cause your parents told you so, full stop.

This is generally speaking and virtually applies to all kinds of religions.

Whatever happened to being open minded?

In a perfect world we would let each and every individual pick their own religion and beliefs, but we are so far away from a reasonable and rational world, that I’m constantly stunned at mankind’s stupidity.

Anyway, back to the topic… the BBC featured a horrifying story about a then 12 year old girl who was forced into a marriage in Pakistan.

Ruksana ( not her real name ) even went to the authorities! She listened to a speech about domestic violence in school, symptoms, prevention and how you should inform the police / the authorities if any applies to you… So Ruksana kept the card of the speaker and when her parents threatened her with forced marriages she did was she was told to do in school: she called the police.

“I told the police: my father wants to send me to Pakistan to get married against my will. I told them that he had my passport.

“The police reassured me that this wouldn’t happen. But then the police came to our house, and talked to me in front of my family – so everyone knew that I had complained. Soon after that the father moved me away to a relative’s house. There I was visited by a social worker that the police had arranged. She came to visit me twice – but she also didn’t speak to me alone, so my relatives knew what was going on as well.

After about six to eight months my father came back from Pakistan. He said: ‘We’re going to Pakistan for a holiday. It’s only for a short time – a month or two’.

Then when we got on the plane he told me that I wouldn’t be coming back, and that I couldn’t do anything about it.

“After I arrived in Pakistan I stayed there for two years. I got married aged 15 and then got pregnant.

“When I was there I did still secretly think that the British police would come looking for me – because I had already complained to them.

She came back to the UK but obviously didn’t want to stay married. Once again she voiced out and was being placed under severe pressure not to “bring shame to the family”.

After her husband joined her in the UK, Ruksana had to suffer in an abusive and violent relationship which made her pack her bags and child and run away.

She is now alone with her child and in hiding from her family.

This is just one in many cases where the ignorance, dumbness, blindness and brutality of humans shows all it’s glory.

Nevermind an innocent child, as long as we follow barbarous and cruesome “rules” it’s all good and won’t “bring shame upon us”. 

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