If I tell a teacher, will they tell my family?
No. Teachers should know not to tell your family, but it is worth reminding them. Also, tell your teacher if you are scared that you’ll be in danger if they tell your parents.
I can’t afford to leave home. How will I survive with no money and nowhere to stay?
There are organisations and refuges which may be able to help find you shelter and get back on your feet.
- If you are under 16, talk to your teacher or call the Forced Marriage Unit: 020 7008 0151.
- If you are over 16 and female, you may be able to go to a refuge, a safe place for women in similar circumstances. Women’s organisations and housing organisations will be able to advice you on your options – see Helpful Organisations – or call the Forced Marriage Unit for advice: 020 7008 0151.
- If you are over 16 and male, call the Forced Marriage Unit for advice. You can also discuss your options with The Men’s Advice Line: 0808 801 0327
Do I have to get married against my will because of my religion?
No. Whatever your religion or belief system, you have the right to choose. All major religions believe in this right. Your family might use religion to try to pressurise you into getting married, but no religion will turn you away for refusing a forced marriage.
If I don’t agree to the marriage, will something bad happen to someone I know because of my refusal?
No. Many families use guilt and emotional blackmail to force people into marriage and this is wrong. If this psychological pressure is making you feel lonely, talk to someone about how you feel. A trusted friend, teacher or the Forced Marriage Unit can listen to your concerns and may be able to help.
If I don’t get married my family will disown me. I can’t live without my family but I don’t want to get married. What can I do?
Some young people are disowned by their families if they refuse to go through with a forced marriage and chose instead to leave. This can be extremely painful, especially to begin with. But there are organisations who can help you rebuild a life of your own. Most of the people who work at advice groups have been disowned by their families for refusing to marry and are now doing great things with their lives. Click here for some stories of people who have survived forced marriages.
My parents had an arranged marriage and want me to have one. I’m too young to think about marriage so what do I tell them?
With an arranged marriage, you can choose whether you accept or reject each partner that is suggested to you. If you do not want to get married at all at the moment, or want to be free to find your own partner, it might be helpful to talk to someone else about how you feel. Your teacher or the Forced Marriage Unit can listen to your concerns and may be able to help. They will not tell anyone else about your situation if you don’t want them to. For help and advice on forced marriages visit our Helpful Organisations section.
In the UK you have the right to choose who to marry
Click here to read the stories of people who have survived forced marriages