Quick Hit: Forced marriage high and difficult to document.

It is difficult to track the rate at which women are being transported out of Great Britain and forced to marry. Similarly, it’s difficult to actually know how many cases of domestic violence and rape occur. But the few that are reported should be enough for some actual changes.

While a government unit investigating forced marriage deals with just 300 cases a year, the true figure could be up to 4,000, the Home Office-funded study into the issue said.
There are 300 inquiries about the issue every year in one town alone, said the report’s author Dr. Nazia Khanum, citing figures for Luton, a town with a high immigrant population.
“It’s a reasonable assumption that it is the tip of the iceberg,” she said, noting that with rape and domestic violence only 10 to 12 percent of cases are thought to be reported.

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2 Comments

  1. Mina
    Posted March 14, 2008 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the link. The BBC had several articles on forced marriage in the UK recently too. I’ll just link to 2 so the post won’t get stuck:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7290374.stm
    “More than 2,000 children are missing from school registers, a committee of MPs investigating the issue of forced marriages has been told…”
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7224109.stm
    “The UK’s first male-only refuge for those who have been forced into marriage is being considered. One victim tells of the dramatic effect the experience had on his life – and how he has come through it…”

  2. Mina
    Posted March 14, 2008 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    Also, these cases don’t always include moving the kid out of the U.K.:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2004/feb/22/ukcrime.gender
    “Ayse was 14 when she was smuggled into Britain and forced to marry her cousin. Family members turned out in large numbers to welcome her at the illegal ceremony in a north London public hall.
    ‘They kept whispering in my ear to ask why I wasn’t smiling,’ recalls Ayse, now 20 and living in a refuge in east London. ‘I told them I was terrified and desperate, that I was just a child and far too young to get married. I pleaded with them to help me escape, but no one saw anything wrong in what was happening. I begged my husband not to marry me, but he told me I had no choice.’
    “Despite being two years below the British age of consent, Ayse was moved into her cousin’s family home, where she lived openly as his wife in the local Kurdish Turkish community.
    “‘I was all alone in a foreign country, unable to speak the language,’ she said. ‘I was trapped. Until I escaped, I didn’t even realise that marrying at 14 wasn’t legal in Britain: everyone I knew in London regarded it as normal.’…”
    I wouldn’t be surprised to hear of this happening in the U.S. too.

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