About Forced Marriages

A forced marriage takes place when either the bride or groom or both do not want to marry each other, however they are placed under pressure to go ahead with the marriage by their families, extended families and on occasion their communities. Many people in this situation are threatened, cajoled and subjected to emotional, psychological and physical abuse, some are kept imprisoned in their home, without access to a phone or computer, whilst others are taken overseas.

Forced marriage is very different to an arranged marriage, which takes place with the full and free consent of both the prospective bride and groom. The families take a leading role in arranging and organising the marriage, but the decision to go ahead remains with the bride and groom at all times.

Forced marriage is domestic abuse, carried out by someone known to the individual, someone they rely on and trust completely. Quite often it is child abuse, or abuse of a vulnerable adult, as well as an abuse of Human Rights. Forced marriage is a civil offence in the United Kingdom.

Forced marriage is morally and ethically wrong, and cannot be justified on cultural or religious grounds. All major world faiths, including Christianity, Judaism and Islam, condemn forced marriage.

Forced marriage affects men and women, and often results in people feeling isolated, confused and helpless. Some people make a decision to leave the situation, which means that they also leave their families, friends, communities and all that is familiar and safe. For others, the lack of control over their own lives leads to depression, eating disorders, self-harming, and in some cases, suicide.