Most parents desire that their daughters find a suitable match and settle down in life. Parents do have some concerns regarding society, difficulty in finding a better suitor or obstacles in parenthood in case of a delayed marriage and/or getting their children married before retirement so that they do not have financial difficulties.
However, there are also parents who consider children as their assets and hence trade them and force them into wedlock. These are also arranged but forced marriages.
One girl below the age of 18 is married off every three seconds worldwide. In developing countries in South America, North Africa and parts of Asia, one in three under 18-year-olds, and one in seven of all girls under 15, is married.
In 2003, the International Center for Research on Women estimated that over 51 million girls under the age of 18 were forcibly married. Forced and early marriage is most common in impoverished states in Africa, South Asia as well as the former Soviet republics. Forced marriage is an institution or practice where individuals don’t have the option to refuse or are promised and married to another by their parents, guardians, relatives or other people and groups. Forced marriage is a destructive global problem threatening the freedom, safety, health, and education of women and girls. UNICEF estimates that in developing countries, over 60 million women now aged 20-24 were married as girls. In the United States, adults and children are forced to marry through familial deception, cultural tradition, emotional blackmail and threats of abuse or even death.
Reasons for Forced Marriage:
The reasons for forced marriage are complex and varied—parents may use a forced marriage to ensure a young woman will adhere to conservative morals and gender roles, or to otherwise protect family honor. Forced marriages may also be used to enhance a family’s status, or to gain economic security. There is a belief that the marriage was in the individual’s best interests; required to honor a contract or arrangement between families; or necessary to protect family honor against a perceived threat among other reasons.
Commonly used threats against victims:
- Emotional blackmail (for example, a parent threatens self-harm, or asserts that the family’s or individual’s reputation will be ruined if they resist the marriage)
- Isolation tactics (for example, the family severely limits the individual’s social contacts or ability to leave the home, or the individual is not allowed to go to school)
- Social ostracization (for example, threatening that the individual will be an outcast in their community)
- Economic threats (for example, family threatens to kick the individual out of the house or withdraw support)
- Threats of physical violence (against the individual facing forced marriage, or others they care about or try to help them)
- Marrying off an individual without that individual’s participation or knowledge (e.g., where laws or customs of a country allow families to conclude a marriage).
Additional, less common (but certainly not rare) tactics or threats used against forced marriage victims, including:
- Immigration-related threats (for example, threatening to get the individual deported)
- Physical violence
- Deception/tricking (for example, telling an individual that they are being taken abroad to visit a relative when really they are being taken abroad to get married)
- Death threats against the victim
- Stalking the victim (for example, a family member follows the individual when they leave their home)
- Kidnapping/forcing the individual to travel abroad.
- Holding the individual captive/physically restrain
It’s hard for most young women as they do not want to do anything which goes against their parents or gets them into trouble. They often sacrifice themselves to the parents’ need and also to protect their younger sisters.”
“Dad took me to one side and firmly explained that I wasn’t going back with them. “You’re staying here with your uncle and he’s going to find you someone to marry. You want to get married, and then it will be to someone we choose rather than a stranger you bring home.”
Community awareness and education initiatives regarding forced marriage as well as community development with parents and young people are vital.
The majority of Islamic Scholars are of the view that if a woman is married off without her consent, then the marriage contract is invalid, because it is a forbidden contract which cannot be validated.
What do you think would be the consequences of such arranged but forced marriages?
Category: MARITAL AWARENESS
About the Author (Author Profile)
I’m Fayaz Pasha from Bangalore, the Silicon Valley and Garden City of India. I’m a Certified Life Coach and an NLP Practitioner. I love reading, writing and convey my thoughts through Poetry. I would like to make my humble contribution to the Society through this blog towards detoxification of social evils particularly the dowry system.