Forced Marriages

7 July 2016

You’ve arrived at the airport with your parents, you plane is ready to depart but you have no idea what is going on. You have now arrived in Pakistan and have been whisked off to your village to take part in your own wedding ceremony with a 45 year old man you have never met before. This is the start of a brand new life as an unwillingly married 15 year old girl. Although this practice may seem like an old fashioned tradition, forced marriages are still going on within European societies.

A forced marriage happens when one or both participants are pressurised into a marriage without their free consent. They can be made because of family honour or the wishes of the parents. Young people especially, with 85% being girls, are being forced to marry someone their family has chosen for them, giving hem no say in the practice. They usually happen amongst different ethnic, cultural and religious groups. I believe that forced marriages are morally, ethically and religiously wrong for many reasons.

Forced Marriages Essay Example

Firstly, a marriage should be a union of two individuals who love each other and are willing to spend the rest of their lives together. However, forced marriages violate a persons basic rights. Victims suffer in silence and often experience imprisonment, sexual abuse, physical and mental abuse and in the very worst cases murder. They are usually referred to as honour killings, which are murders by the families of victims who are thought to have brought shame upon the family. This shame could be because the victim has committed an act that is highly frowned upon within their culture.

One of the most horrific honour killings was because of a forced marriage. In 2003 Shafilea Ahmed was brutally suffocated to death and thrown into a river by her own parents. These were the people she should have been able to turn to in times of need. All of this happened because she stood up for her rights and did not accept to marry a stranger. Secondly, it is often thought that forced marriages are allowed in certain religions, particularly Islam. This angers me as many Muslims believe that forced marriages are allowed so use that as an excuse to plan one.

However, in Islam forced marriages are not permitted as a marriage is only valid when both participants enter the marriage in their own free will. I believe as a Muslim that we should be educating fellow Muslims on the consequences of going through a forced marriages. This is also the same in other major religions including Christianity and Judaism. Thirdly, this changes peoples perception of marriage. If a child witnessed a forced marriage taking place, they may think that this is the right way to find a partner when they’re older.

I’m sure you would not want your child to marry a stranger a few decades older then them , so why should these children be brought up learning such an immoral thing? Taking all these points into account, you would think that the UK would have done something about it. However, it was only in June 2012 that David Cameron introduced a law stating that forced marriages were banned in the UK. Although this law has been introduced, over 1000 young people are still being coerced into a marriage every year without any help from people who may have suspicions of what may be going on.

Schools especially are failing to act upon suspicions of a forced marriage taking place, preventing saving a lot of suffering and even lives. We need to raise awareness to adolescents particularly belonging to a certain religion or culture about the disadvantages of forced marriages and how to get help and support if they are unfortunate to be part of one. I hope that this has helped many people understand how dangerous and immoral forced marriages can be and what horror is going on behind closed doors.

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