Many families believe that they can only be ‘honourable’ if their children marry into a particular family or community. They make arrangements for who their child will marry, giving that child absolutely no choice. Often, the victim has never seen, met or spoken to the person they are forced to marry. Homosexuality is often unaccepted too, and on finding out their child is lesbian or gay, a family might force them into a heterosexual marriage against their will.

Emotional blackmail is extremely common

Families often pressurise the victim by saying that they will bring shame on the family if they do not go ahead with the marriage. In many cases, the family threatens to disown the victim, to reject them completely, leaving them with no parents, nowhere to live and unable to contact their own brothers and sisters. Many people are so frightened of being alone in the world and of going against their family’s wishes that they feel they cannot escape the marriage, that their only option is to go ahead with it.Victims might also be told that to refuse to marry is to go against their religion.

If you refuse to accept your families’ wishes?

Victims may be taken prisoner in their own home. Many who are still at school miss vital parts of their education as their families fear that if they go to school they might tell other people or run away from the marriage. Often, violence is used on a victim who refuses to go ahead with a marriage, and in the very worst cases, they are murdered.In some situations, victims are taken to another country and forced into marriage while they are away. Usually, they are tricked into going abroad, told that they are going on holiday or to meet relatives, and have no idea about the marriage until they arrive in an unfamiliar country. Without their usual support networks around them (friends, teachers) it’s even harder to go against the emotional pressure of their family. Sometimes they have no access to money, their ticket or passport and have no one they can talk to about their situation.

Know Your Rights

Many of the activities involved in forcing someone to marry are illegal: the law protects the victims of any crimes and their right to choose who they marry.

Survivor’s Stories

Click here to read the stories of people who have survived forced marriages

Related Posts