What is a Forced marriage?
A forced marriage is when the bride or groom is pressurised into getting married and one or both parties have no choice. Pressure and abuse is used to make them marry. This pressure can be varied and involve physical, psychological, financial, sexual and emotional pressure.
Is an arranged marriage the same as a forced marriage?
No. An arranged marriage is when the families are involved in helping to choose the marriage partner, but it is the choice of both the bride and groom whether they want to get married or not. A forced marriage is when they have no choice or feel that they have no choice.
Why does forced marriage take place?
Forced marriage takes place in countries all around the world, and is not something which is practiced by only one community. There are many reasons given for why this takes place such as:
• Maintaining ‘honour’
• Controlling someone’s sexuality and preventing them from being ‘promiscuous’
• Preventing ‘unwanted’ behaviour (such as drug/alcohol abuse)
• Making someone marry to get access to money
• Preserving cultural or religious traditions
• Preventing ‘unsuitable’ relationships e.g. Outside of ethnic/religious or cultural groups
• Assisting claims for UK residence and citizenship
Who does is affect?
Forced marriage affects both men and women, of different ages, communities and backgrounds. Forced marriage is not a ‘cultural or religious’ issue, and to discuss it as such denies a voice to those from other communities who have experienced it.
Does my religion mean that I have to go through with a forced marriage?
No. All major religions believe that everyone has the right to decide who they marry and should not be married to someone against their will.
What to do if you are at risk:
If you or anyone you know thinks they are at risk of being forced into a marriage, it is important that you tell a trusted adult like a teacher as soon as possible and contact the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) on 020 7008 0151. There are ways that you can be protected so that you don’t have to go through with the marriage and you can get confidential help and advice.
For more information, you can also contact any of the agencies listed below:
Next Link: 0117 925 0680
The Sky Project: www.skyproject.org.uk
Henna Foundation: 029 20496920
Karma Nirvana: 0800 5999 247