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Blair to ban forced marriages!

Posted By Sunny On 4th March, 2007 @ 3:25 pm In Sex equality | Comments Disabled

This is one TB change of mind I can wholeheartedly support. Was emailed this morning to say Tony Blair has decided to support the ban of forced marriage. Found the exclusive in the [1] Observer today. About bloody time!
This is the Bill introduced by Lord Lester along with Southall Black Sisters that I covered [2] here. I also wrote for [3] comment is free saying it’s time the govt took action and Galloise Blonde covered the [4] discussion in the House of Lords.

Just to clarify something: this is a civil remedies bill which means that, “offenders would not go to jail, but victims could sue for damages. Lester’s bill also allows for a third party to bring charges.” The Conservatives favour criminalisation, as does Labour MP Ann Cryer and groups like Karma Nirvana. I’m not yet fully convinced either way despite discussions with people from SBS. Let’s see how this works in action.

I don’t know if my articles had any impact or not but it was certainly frustrating to see that while there is obvious and widespread support for this bill amongst Asian families, there was very little coverage and discussion of the Bill within the MSM and ethnic media. I think I was the only one to write an article about it since it was introduced!


Comments Disabled To "Blair to ban forced marriages!"

#1 Comment By Don On 4th March, 2007 @ 3:34 pm

GB’s excellent report from the Lords gave reason for optimism and Blair seems to have listened to the views expressed. A rare, and all the more welcome for that, piece of good news.

#2 Comment By Katy On 4th March, 2007 @ 3:50 pm

That’s Tony Blair for you. When in doubt, legislate.

#3 Comment By Leon On 4th March, 2007 @ 5:10 pm

Yep Blair loves the law when it works for him but hates it if it means he can’t bomb the brown people other countries…

Anyway, yeah this looks OK, particularly good to see the bit about third parties.

#4 Comment By Roger On 4th March, 2007 @ 5:20 pm

Actually, forced marriages are already illegal.

#5 Comment By Sahil On 4th March, 2007 @ 5:24 pm

“particularly good to see the bit about third parties.”

Exactly, I can’t really see many of the victims taking their families to court for damages.

#6 Comment By raz On 4th March, 2007 @ 6:52 pm

About fucking time.

#7 Comment By Sunny On 4th March, 2007 @ 7:00 pm

That’s Tony Blair for you. When in doubt, legislate.

True, but in this case we needed the legislation.

Actually, forced marriages are already illegal.

Not exactly. One could prosecute someone for kidnapping, holding them against their will, abuse etc, but not forced marriage itself. One can also annul the marriage if the marriage has been forced, but this legislation can also drag in extended members of the family I think (have to clarify this), which is a good thing because usually they’re involved.

#8 Comment By Katy Newton On 4th March, 2007 @ 7:25 pm

Roger is right. Kidnap, false imprisonment, assault, blackmail and threats to kill are all illegal. The problem with this legislation will be the same as those associated with prosecuting domestic violence: generally speaking, people don’t want to drag their families into court, no matter how badly they have been treated.

Third parties can bring proceedings? Big wow. You can base a criminal prosecution on the evidence of a third party too - but it doesn’t do you any good when the victim of the crime turns up and says “I don’t know why they are bringing this case, I’m very happy and I haven’t been forced into anything.” Case dismissed. Don’t tell me that it doesn’t happen; I have seen more battered wives than I care to remember turn up to court and come out with that sort of crap, because they didn’t want to go to court, they didn’t want their children to think that Mum had got Dad sent to prison, they didn’t know how they or their children would manage if Dad went to prison and lost his job. They just wanted someone to help them get out. And half the time Dad doesn’t get sent to prison anyway. Dad gets a probation order or community service, which pisses him off and makes him doubly resentful towards Mum without actually preventing him from getting at her if that’s what he wants to do.

I am tired of this government churning out Big Media Splash Legislative Gesture after Big Media Splash Legislative Gesture. They have brought in more rules and created more offences than any other regime in modern times, and most of the offences they created already existed in a different form. I am disappointed that so many people are taken in by their empty gestures, and so few understand what it really means: it means that they aren’t prepared to put any MONEY into the things that might actually do some good. Such as:

- more money to fund police who get out, engage with the communities they’re in and learn to find alternative ways of dealing with domestic violence and forced marriage that are more nuanced than “we can’t do anything if you won’t go to court”;

- more money to fund the long-term rehabilitation and protection of the victims of domestic violence and forced marriage so that they can get out and start a new life without having to look over their shoulders all their lives;

- more money to fund proper, effective witness protection for those brave women who do decide to go to court;

- more money to fund proper, effective probation regimes that might actually rehabilitate the perpetrators of domestic violence and forced marriage and make them see why what they do is wrong.

Forgive me for not joining the party just yet.

#9 Comment By Katy Newton On 4th March, 2007 @ 7:29 pm

Oh for crying out loud, everyone already knows forced marriages aren’t allowed, Sunny. It’s just that the people who actually force other people to enter them don’t care.

#10 Comment By Katy Newton On 4th March, 2007 @ 7:30 pm

Not exactly. One could prosecute someone for kidnapping, holding them against their will, abuse etc, but not forced marriage itself.

If all of the methods that are used to force someone into getting married are criminalised, then forced marriage isn’t allowed!

Argh!

#11 Comment By Leon On 4th March, 2007 @ 7:33 pm

I thought with domestic violence the law was changed so the police could prosecute without the victims [as long as they had the evidence]? This was done because of the problem of getting the victim to follow through (easily understandable from where I sit, I’ve known a few women to go through this and their mental state aint pretty). It was that that I was referring to regarding 3rd parties…

#12 Comment By Don On 4th March, 2007 @ 7:45 pm

Granted we have a legislation happy government.Granted that without funds and the will to do something legislation is just waffle. But don’t you feel that making it clear that forced marriages are a criminal event, rather than an event containing criminal elements, is a worthwhile use of legislation?

#13 Comment By Katy On 4th March, 2007 @ 7:53 pm

Leon - The problem is that in a domestic setting, generally speaking there isn’t anyone to give evidence apart from the defendant(s) or the victim, because most defendants are bright enough not to carry out their wife-beating in front of someone else. So if the victim doesn’t want to come to court you’re a bit stuffed. Where domestic violence does take place in front of a third party, it is generally a family member or a friend, and they tend not to want to come to court any more than anyone else. It is understandable, as you say: going to court as a witness is vile. When my little brother, who has Aspergers, was mugged, I made a point of ringing the officer in the case and witness services to tell them that he was particularly vulnerable and they took bugger-all notice of it, so you can imagine how much they do for people who don’t have a particular condition.

There have been cases in which a third party’s evidence was enough without the victim - most notably a rape that took place on CCTV that wasn’t recording: by the time the security guard who saw it had called the police, the victim had fled, and was never found despite appeals, but the security guard’s evidence was sufficient to convict the rapist. But that doesn’t often happen in a domestic setting.

Don - a forced marriage is an event containing criminal elements. There’s nothing criminal about marriage, it’s the forced bit that’s the problem.

#14 Comment By Katy On 4th March, 2007 @ 8:02 pm

It is not that I don’t think any publicity of this issue is a good thing, it’s just that bringing in a new Bill costs money, and if that Bill isn’t really going to change anything - and I don’t think this one will - then what’s the point? The money spent debating and amending and redebating and re-amending would be better spent towards improving resources to back up the tools that already exist.

Civil cases come with their own problems, by the way. How many of these people will get legal aid? If they aren’t eligible for civil legal aid, which is much harder to get than criminal legal aid, how will they afford to bring a case? How likely is it that the husbands or families or whoever is going to be on the receiving ends of these civil actions will have any money to pay any damages that are ordered? And how likely is it that a woman who is afraid of her husband and her family will go through all the trauma of court proceedings with little prospect of money at the end of it and no prospect of the people who did this to her actually getting sent to prison for it?

#15 Comment By Kobayashi Khan On 4th March, 2007 @ 8:12 pm

About time, I say.

#16 Comment By Katy On 4th March, 2007 @ 8:15 pm

The only other point I’d make is that this bill by definition does not criminalise forced marriage, because it is a civil remedies bill. It deliberately doesn’t create a criminal offence.

I shall stop ranting now.

#17 Comment By Galloise Blonde On 4th March, 2007 @ 8:24 pm

What changes may come from this remain to be seen, and like Sunny, and despite SBS’s position, I don’t know what deterrent value there is without real teeth. The first difference is: the leaflet “Forced Marriages Abroad: your right to choose” says, If someone is forcing you into a marriage they MAY BE in breach of the law.” Well now they ARE in breach of the law, with no qualifiers.

Katy, the full text of the Bill is [5] here and I’d very much like your opinion on it.

The definition of coercion is very capacious as far as I can see and could cover many things which don’t come under the existing categories of kidnapping, rape etc: inducement includes: providing benefit, or threatening detriment. In fact that covers just about everything!

#18 Comment By Katy On 4th March, 2007 @ 8:28 pm

Thanks, GB, I was going to ask if there was a link to it - I’ll read it through tomorrow.

(I am astonished that the leaflet read “they may be in breach of the law”, by the way. Astonishing. They were always in breach of the law.)

#19 Comment By Sid On 4th March, 2007 @ 8:30 pm

I shall stop ranting now.

Don’t you dare, Newton.

#20 Comment By Katy On 4th March, 2007 @ 8:33 pm

Alas, I am (temporarily) spent.

#21 Comment By douglas clark On 4th March, 2007 @ 9:09 pm

Katy,

Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Y’know, in general?

#22 Comment By Katy Newton On 4th March, 2007 @ 9:20 pm

The Bill? I think it isn’t going to be a solution to the problem it’s identified. But I wouldn’t go as far as to say that it is a bad thing. And in fairness, now that I know where the Bill is, I should read it before I comment further.

#23 Comment By douglas clark On 4th March, 2007 @ 9:56 pm

Katy,

So, it is sort of a good thing, on balance, but it doesn’t go far enough?

#24 Comment By Katy On 4th March, 2007 @ 10:20 pm

I don’t think it needs to exist, full stop. There is no “going far enough” issue. The criminal law already goes much further than this Bill.

#25 Comment By Leon On 5th March, 2007 @ 12:32 am

When my little brother, who has Aspergers, was mugged, I made a point of ringing the officer in the case and witness services to tell them that he was particularly vulnerable and they took bugger-all notice of it, so you can imagine how much they do for people who don’t have a particular condition.

Apparently the new changes were brought in due to police complaints stemming from frustrations with not being able to convict without the victims say so (I have a family member who’s in the police).

Even if it’s not perfect (I guess it’s different for each station house) from what I understand it’s better than it was before, hence my comment about third parties…

#26 Comment By G. Tingey On 5th March, 2007 @ 9:31 am

Erm, isn’t forced marriage also rape?

#27 Comment By William On 5th March, 2007 @ 10:04 am

Would the legislation just cover being forced into marriage at the time if marriage.

What if there was the following scenario

Person agrees to arranged marriage
Potential partner seems ok
Once in the marriage things turn very badly
Person suffers severe abuse
Person flees the marriage
Shame put on person
person threatened with violence by extended family to go back to the marriage

Would the terms of the law cover this

#28 Comment By William On 5th March, 2007 @ 10:04 am

At the time if marriage should read

At the time of marriage

#29 Comment By sonia On 5th March, 2007 @ 11:15 am

katy - posts no. 8 and 9. very good points. and thanks for making it clearer for the rest of us non-legal types.

#30 Comment By sonia On 5th March, 2007 @ 11:17 am

at the end of the day it seems to me all this is ‘political’ and symbolic - which can be good things in themselves, but let’s be crystal clear about the reality of the situation.

#31 Comment By sonia On 5th March, 2007 @ 11:22 am

personally, i think one side effect of this is that some people might think aha!so it wasn’t illegal all those years ago! i.e. realization there is confusion over the legal status of ‘forced marriage’.

( face it, the headline ‘despair as forced marriages stay legal’ im sure wasn’t much help)

“better get the remaining kids married off now before the legislation goes through!”

#32 Comment By sonia On 5th March, 2007 @ 11:39 am

no one seems to be willing to admit the fundamental underlying problem in these scenarios is one of monumental proportions problematic attitude towards marriage One that is analogous to slavery. Pretty strong statement and I shall say it without worrying about ‘castigating communities’. yes arranged marriage and forced marriage are on a continuum. that continuum is varying degrees of pressure from parental authority - and how the individual parents interpret how far they can take their ‘remit’. But parental fascism is what it’s about.

oh no one wants to come out and say this. ‘asian girls’ feel comfortable talking about this to each other - generally the only people they feel they can talk to who understand. or admit this to. no one wants to be in the position of being seen to ’smear their culture or their families’. Which is precisely how parents end up having power over their children despite living in countries where their children actually some rights. this is why people don’t generally dont find it easy to sue their families. They can’t even admit what the problem is really without being accused of being a traitor! how can they say the problem is that my parents think they own me and can dictate to me who i should marry? without discrediting their parents? and the fact that parents say ‘oh but this is OUR way - the way of BACK home’. Despite the fact that reality of life ‘back home’ is far more diverse than parental authority would like one to think.

without admitting all this - everything else is about automatically going to be about ‘cure’, rather than ‘prevention’ - excuse my medical analogies. ie. helping victims out of that situation - and ensuring the social services are able to that as best they can, trying to make it as clear as possible for people in that situation that they have recourse to justice legally, what their rights are etc. All very valuable things - of course - and what we would expect and hope for in the name of human rights.

#33 Comment By sonia On 5th March, 2007 @ 11:41 am

perhaps its got to the stage where its us asian girls that need to do the speaking out. ‘community’ representatives are too worried about what the bl**dy community of aunties will think or say.

#34 Comment By sonia On 5th March, 2007 @ 11:41 am

excuse my punctuation or lack thereof - “the fundamental underlying problem in these scenarios is one of monumental proportions : the problematic attitude towards marriage”.

#35 Comment By sonia On 5th March, 2007 @ 11:45 am

and what i want to come out of all this - is what Leon said a while back on one of the threads - which i thought was hitting the nail on the head. it was about how hopefully this will bring into the light the huge degrees of pressure - not only from parents - but peers as well - on who you can marry or not, who is ’suitable’ and who isn’t.

vikram seth’s “a suitable boy” is just as valid for understanding social dynamics today as it was in 1950s India.

#36 Comment By sonia On 5th March, 2007 @ 12:13 pm

and its me again. the other problematique of the almost exclusive focus on those who who suffer violence within a marriage that was forced on them seems to somehow imply that if you weren’t/aren’t being beaten up then it’s somehow ‘ok’ that you were forced into marriage. lots of people have been coerced into getting married and have managed to end up making the best of their situation or the husband not being too nasty whatever - and it’s managed to be okay for them. Yes the focus on the ‘ones who aren’t so okay’ is highlighting what negativities result from this kind of coercion - BUT the connection that needs to be made is how many of the people coerced into marriage, ( not necessarily getting beaten up) then thinking ah well it turned out for the best, maybe mommy and daddy did know what’s what, and let me do the same with my kids.

Surprise suprise - but if we were able to go around interviewing parents who think coercing their kids into marriage is some kind of ’social norm’ - about 99% will have been ‘given into marriage’ and probably thought they had no rights or say in the matter. So why should their kids flatter themselves in thinking they have a say?

the wider problem is one where people internalize and legitimize the hurts they’ve gone through themselves and then in turn impose them on the younger generation.

Disgusting. And you know what sucks the most? it’s all in the name of ‘family values’ usually. which only goes to show what came up in that other highly contentious thread - almost anything - can be shoved under the blanket term [’family values’] by itself it means nothing apart from a means to propagate whatever family thinks is best. which again - has ended up allowing parental/familial fascism. the family is after all - the oldest - social institution.

#37 Comment By sonia On 5th March, 2007 @ 12:21 pm

thank goodness we’ve got a resident legal expert here!

“Civil cases come with their own problems, by the way. How many of these people will get legal aid? If they aren’t eligible for civil legal aid, which is much harder to get than criminal legal aid, how will they afford to bring a case?”

Superb point Katy - there are big issues with legal aid - I’m glad you’ve raised this one.

#38 Comment By Jagdeep On 5th March, 2007 @ 2:16 pm

I’m going to go home and arrest my entire family after reading sonias posts.

#39 Comment By sonia On 5th March, 2007 @ 2:59 pm

jagdeep, you do manage to make me laugh! :-)

#40 Comment By Katherine On 5th March, 2007 @ 3:05 pm

The worse possible thing to happen was what did initially happen - i.e. a law was proposed and then dropped/opposed by government. The message therefore was inadvertently sent out that (a) forced marriage wasn’t a big deal and (b) wasn’t illegal. The point of the proposed legislation was to make the point that THIS PARTICULAR ACT is illegal - it’s about consciousness raising as well.

Victims will know - look there is an act about my particular circumstances. Do you think someone in a forced marriage has the resources to go out and work out whether their particular circumstances fall under the umbrella of kidnapping? Also, false imprisonment is not a criminal offence, it is a civil offence.

And yes, I agree that this government is extraordinarily legislation happy, but it does not therefore follow that all legislation is bad. And putting a Bill through Parliament is not a tremendously expensive process I believe, but I’m happy to be corrected on that.

And as far as I know, one of the main reasons to allow third parties to bring actions is to allow NGOs or other interest groups to bring actions on behalf of women who can’t afford to otherwise and/or don’t have the support network to be able to do so, exactly BECAUSE of the lack-of-legal-aid issue.

#41 Comment By Jagdeep On 5th March, 2007 @ 3:19 pm

sonia, it ruins your image if you laugh! It’s not very helpful if I make you laugh because it’s a serious issues that I make you laugh on! Which is another form of oppression! How do you know I’m not tickling you as a patriarchal strategy?

#42 Comment By sonia On 5th March, 2007 @ 5:07 pm

heh, that’s fine jagdeep, laughing i enjoy so it’s a good thing!

#43 Comment By Innit On 5th March, 2007 @ 6:17 pm

I think someone else has already covered this, but when is a marriage forced?

Is it emotional/physical/mental bullying?
I do believe it is when marriage is carried out against ones will, But, what about underlying pressure and expectations? As an asian, the choices that need to be made are also a form of pressure are they not?

What if the belief is that, this is OK? then what?
Yes the message is it is wrong, but how many traditional parents will have the self realisation and ability to change?

#44 Comment By sonia On 5th March, 2007 @ 9:57 pm

quite

#45 Comment By lithcol On 5th March, 2007 @ 10:26 pm

A move in the right direction. A major concern of mine, and it must be said of some in the communities concerned, is the arranged or forced marriage to close blood relatives. It is a fact that marriage to 1st cousins is not good for the health of any offspring.
We used to, and probably still do, refer to the chinless wonders of the upper classes. The products of inbreeding. Arranged, and in many cases forced marriages.
Who one marries or wants to form a long term relationship with is of course the choice of the individual and not the concern of third parties. Parent always have reservations about the potential partner of their child or children, but to determine who the partner should be is a denial of a basic freedom. The freedom to choose is for the individual. Parents may advise, but they should have no say in the final decision.

#46 Comment By William On 5th March, 2007 @ 11:21 pm

Katy

“Civil cases come with their own problems, by the way. How many of these people will get legal aid? If they aren’t eligible for civil legal aid, which is much harder to get than criminal legal aid, how will they afford to bring a case?”

As well civil procedure seems somehow too tame when people may need protection and emotional support. Also what would a possible scenario be.

Young person gets offer of marriage

Young person refuses

Parents get heavy with psychological pressure

After a couple of weeks young person gets
upset and says to parents if you pressurise me
anymore I will take you to court and make you
pay me compensation????

For something to be serious things need to be going on
for a long time or coercion to be involved. By that time someone may need emotional support and maybe protection. Submitting civil action can take effort and is long winded. Perhaps resources should be put into helping and protecting organisations as well as making it a criminal offence. Although how many people would want to criminalise their own families.

#47 Comment By Sunny On 6th March, 2007 @ 3:30 am

Katy, you raise some good points. I veer broadly towards criminalising FM full stop, but am happy to defer to the experience that Southall Black Sisters have in dealing with this issue, to see if this makes a difference.

To address some of your points:

If all of the methods that are used to force someone into getting married are criminalised, then forced marriage isn’t allowed!

I don’t think emotional blackmail or coercion is illegal yet.

The point about Third Party support is also different than what you cite. Of course it requires that the victim themselves are willing to press charges, but that is taken into account. SBS actually made a different point to me on this which made sense as to why this bit was needed.

Lastly, I do believe a symbolic message is needed. I actually favour a much harsher symbolic message where the whole bloody family is locked up for years for trying to force someone into a marriage, but I fear it won’t happen so easily. In the meantime I’m happy for the govt to try and scare Asian families into better behaviour, and stigmatising FM generally. The current stalemate doesn’t do that.

Yes, I accept more money should be poured into educating (especially support services like social workers and the police) but I fear I can’t rely on that utopian ideal from this govt. So in the absence of that, this will have to do.

Yes you’re right there is a danger that the civil remedies bill also ends up antagonising parents without actually helping kids. But this is an experimental step towards full criminalisation and more harsher measure. But as I said we’ll have to see how this pans out.

#48 Comment By Katy Newton On 6th March, 2007 @ 9:30 am

I don’t think emotional blackmail or coercion is illegal yet

I don’t think it should be, I’m afraid. I wouldn’t like to live in a country where it’s illegal to say to someone, “I’ll never speak to you again if you…”. I mean, my mother would never do this to me; but if she or the whole of my family did decide that she wouldn’t talk to me again if I didn’t marry a Jewish man or a particular Jewish man, that’s her and their prerogative, however unreasonable they are being, and I’ve got a hard choice to make - but it IS a choice; no one is physically preventing me from doing what I want to do. If, on the other hand, she locks me in a room or she and the rest of my family unite to keep me under their control (whether in or out of the house) to stop me from leaving the family until I agree to marry the man in question, that’s not her prerogative, it’s false imprisonment and it’s punishable in the criminal courts.

If, on the other hand, I was under 16, and was told by my mother, “I’m not letting you back in the house unless you marry the man I’ve chosen for you”, that would almost certainly come within the bracket of the offence of cruelty to/neglect of a child, and would be punishable with imprisonment under criminal law.

I’m sorry to keep saying it, but all of these situations are already catered to under criminal law.

#49 Comment By Katy Newton On 6th March, 2007 @ 9:36 am

I am starting to worry that it looks as if I am in some way in favour of forced marriage. I’m not. I hate the very idea of it. But the laws already exist. I want to see them used properly. What does this bill do? Apparently it gives my best friend the right to sue my mother for guilt-tripping me into marrying someone I didn’t like. Is that seriously supposed to be a solution to this problem?

A high-profile television, radio and poster campaign aimed at those sections of the community in which forced marriage actually happens, coupled with proper resources being poured into concrete solutions for women who are at risk of being forced to marry someone they don’t want would probably be cheaper than the Parliamentary time this Bill will take up and get better results.

#50 Comment By seabhac On 6th March, 2007 @ 10:00 am

Just to let you all know I whole heartedly support this ban on an apalling practice of forced and arranged marriage which demeans women and reduces them to chattels.

I think though that in addition to a ban, and jail time,the government needs to legislate for hefty fines on families that try to carry on the practise.
In many cases people will only take notice and obey the ban if it hurts them in their pockets. Such is human nature, unfortunately.

yours,

#51 Comment By soru On 6th March, 2007 @ 10:24 am

I’d imagine that 99.9% of rapes also break some other law than the one against rape, that doesn’t make the law against rape superfluous.

The point is categorisation: if you gather together things that are similar, then you can draw on the experience from other cases to navigate through the details of this one.

For rape, instead of one case of rape being judged by analogy to a drunken brawl, and another to a mugging, and another to a poisoning, then you are putting them all in the same framework. That way the worst cases within that group get the biggest punishment, rather than the ones that happen to most resemble some other bad thing.

It also means you can adjust the punishment for that group as a whole, which is what is ultimately being done here - the Lord and the Sisters are acknowledging that this is a new and sensitive area. Intervention by state in families with varying races and religions is something that could easily go horribly wrong.

So they have decided to start off with very light punishments, fines not prison. That decision, right or wrong, couldn’t be made without a law that grouped together the things it was supposed to apply to.

#52 Comment By sonia On 6th March, 2007 @ 10:54 am

Katy very good points again.

#53 Comment By Katy On 6th March, 2007 @ 11:07 am

It isn’t a PUNISHMENT, Soru, it is a CIVIL ACT which means that it does not create any OFFENCES and the result of a successful action would be DAMAGES as COMPENSATION, and not a FINE. In other words, the remedy you get here is the same as the remedy that you would get if you sued DFS for selling you a substandard armchair.

With the greatest of respect, I do this for a living and I know what I am talking about. This bill is going to come up against serious evidential problems and I will be very surprised if it is used in practice. The fact is that if the women who are the victims of forced marriage were the sort of people to go around suing other people or reporting them to the police, they probably wouldn’t be in a forced marriage in the first place - particularly not if the “force” is no more than emotional blackmail.

What none of you seem to appreciate is that both civil and criminal cases are based on EVIDENCE. Whilst both civil and criminal cases can be based on the evidence of a third party, it needs to be the evidence of a third party who has either heard or seen what is going on. It isn’t good enough for someone to rock up to court and say “The wife at number 23 looks really miserable and I think she’s been forced to marry her husband.” That is not evidence, that’s speculation. If you can find a third party to say “I spoke to the wife at 23 and she told me that her family beat her/ starved her/locked her in a room until she agreed to marry her husband”, that might be different, but the fact is that that doesn’t happen because of community loyalties and family ties.

Hearts and minds are what this is about, not elastoplast legislation to make people think that more is being done than in fact is.

Thanks Sonia :-D

#54 Comment By Katy On 6th March, 2007 @ 11:09 am

You’re wrong about rape, by the way, Soru; in the vast majority of the cases that I have seen there is no violence used beyond that which is necessary to effect the rape. The criminality of rape is directed to the absence of consent, not to the level of violence used in committing the act.

#55 Comment By Katy On 6th March, 2007 @ 11:26 am

I’m sorry, I really am ranting now.

I am against forced marriages.

I want to see a real, concrete solution to them.

I don’t think adding yet another law to the rafts of laws already available to deal with forced marriages is a concrete solution.

By “concrete solution” I mean “injection of cash to fund ways in which women can actually escape these marriages, and proper engagement with the communities that practice them to start the process of social change which will put an end to them”.

How much good did criminalisation of FGM (which, by the way, is also an offence under section 18 of the Offences Against The Person Act (grievous bodily harm) do to stamp it out? How many people have been prosecuted under that Act? Gallois Blonde knows the answer…

#56 Comment By Katherine On 6th March, 2007 @ 11:43 am

Well, I also do this for a living, in a slightly different way, and I really do disagree with you Katy.

Yes, there are evidential issues, it should be borne in mind that the evidential standard for civil cases is lower than that for criminal cases - balance of probabilities in fact. Comparing this civil act with current criminal law on kidnapping, rape and blackmail is, I’m afraid, disingenuous. As you have yourself have pointed out, criminal prosecutions come with evidential requirements that are much heavier, because of course the consequences of being found guilty are much heavier. A civil procedure makes it much more likely that a good case can be heard.

And the fact that this Act could not, by itself, end the problem of forced marriage is not a reason to oppose it. No one single thing can change such a big problem - it is an accumulation of things. And this Act is one of those things. Do you think the SBS would oppose the injections of funds too? Of course not! But this Act could give them and other NGO’s a concrete way to address this particular issue.

The Act gives this issue a public profile, it is a good place to point women in danger (rather than an amorphous “well, you could get someone charged with a criminal offence, but of course you need screeds of cash for that”) and it allows third parties to support women in trouble. NGO’s like SBS are very well set up to support women in these circumstances. They have numerous case studies to base research on, and many women that they are supporting who they could help even more with even the threat of a civil case.

You seem to be particularly incensed about the fact that you deem this Act to be ineffectual. Okay, so answer this question - what harm can it do? If the potential is only beneficial, then I say give it a go.

#57 Comment By Katy On 6th March, 2007 @ 12:03 pm

Yes, there are evidential issues, it should be borne in mind that the evidential standard for civil cases is lower than that for criminal cases - balance of probabilities in fact.

Yes, I know that. But you do still need evidence in the first place. How likely do you think it is that either women in forced marriages or third parties will sue the families in the civil courts if they were too afraid to pursue the case in the criminal courts with the police and the CPS behind them?

Comparing this civil act with current criminal law on kidnapping, rape and blackmail is, I’m afraid, disingenuous. As you have yourself have pointed out, criminal prosecutions come with evidential requirements that are much heavier, because of course the consequences of being found guilty are much heavier. A civil procedure makes it much more likely that a good case can be heard.

No, that’s not right. A civil case means that the threshold for finding the case proved is lower. It doesn’t dispense with the problem of finding the evidence to put before the court in the first place, and that still has to come either from the person who is the victim of the forced marriage or from the third party. If you do this for a living then you know as well as I do that someone has to stand up and say “This has happened to me” or “I know that this has happened to her”.

And the fact that this Act could not, by itself, end the problem of forced marriage is not a reason to oppose it. No one single thing can change such a big problem - it is an accumulation of things. And this Act is one of those things. Do you think the SBS would oppose the injections of funds too? Of course not! But this Act could give them and other NGO’s a concrete way to address this particular issue.

How? Even if the SBS brought an action on behalf of a woman in a forced marriage who was too scared to bring the action herself, as an interested third party, they’d have to give the court some evidence, wouldn’t they? And the evidence would consist of “This woman told us that she had been forced into a marriage against her will by her family”, right? How many women in forced marriages do you think would be happy about that sort of evidence being given about them in court?

The Act gives this issue a public profile, it is a good place to point women in danger (rather than an amorphous “well, you could get someone charged with a criminal offence, but of course you need screeds of cash for that”) and it allows third parties to support women in trouble.

An advertising campaign would also give the issue a public profile and give women who are in danger a point of reference. (I am not sure why you think that anyone would need cash to get someone charged with a criminal offence?)

NGO’s like SBS are very well set up to support women in these circumstances. They have numerous case studies to base research on, and many women that they are supporting who they could help even more with even the threat of a civil case.

How many marriages have SBS helped to annul on the basis that they were forced? That’s an option that exists now as part of matrimonial law, isn’t it? Genuine question. I don’t know how many of such actions SBS might have helped with.

You seem to be particularly incensed about the fact that you deem this Act to be ineffectual. Okay, so answer this question - what harm can it do? If the potential is only beneficial, then I say give it a go.

We start with different perspectives, because I don’t believe in introducing new laws on the basis that they don’t do any harm. I only want to see new laws introduced if they do some good. And laws aren’t supposed to be made for publicity, they are supposed to do something that hasn’t been done before. Making law costs money. It costs Parliamentary time and drafting time. It creates an illusion that something extra is being done which is not in fact being done. It allows the government to ride on the back of it and say “Look, we did this radical thing” when in fact it doesn’t actually change the situation for the women on the ground.

But I might be wrong, I accept that. Can you tell me, from your experience, how likely it is that the families who perpetrate forced marriages have the funds to pay the damages that might be ordered under this bill? Or how likely it is that the women you have dealt with would be any happier to sue their families through the civil courts than to go through the criminal courts with the CPS and police behind them? Or give me an example of a scenario that you have dealt with involving a forced marriage that would have been materially improved if these new laws were enforced?

#58 Comment By Galloise Blonde On 6th March, 2007 @ 12:23 pm

Zero.

The law itself can’t work without a raft of funding in any case: if NGOs are going to be the main players in taking such cases to court, they need funding to train their volunteers in whatever procedures are necessary; it would be a new experience for many to deal with the Civil Courts.

#59 Comment By Katy On 6th March, 2007 @ 12:23 pm

I’m not knocking the work that SBS do - I think they are amazing. If SBS didn’t exist thousands more women would be trapped in horrific situations with no way out. I just think that in a situation where women are notoriously reluctant to go to court, another remedy through the courts isn’t the answer and the money spent enacting this Bill would be better used actually helping to provide facilities, protection and resources for women to actually get out of the marriages. And I think that SBS recognise that any value this bill does have is in the publicity that surrounds it rather than its contents. If you mean, do I agree that there is value in that, then I suppose I do. But when the publicity fades, as it inevitably will, there will be no extra resources for trapped women, and no meaningful new remedies - and no more meaningful government engagement with the problem, because it’ll say that it’s already done its bit in enacting this Bill.

#60 Comment By Katy On 6th March, 2007 @ 12:24 pm

GB - exactly! Publicity is all well and good, but where’s the moolah?

#61 Comment By sonia On 6th March, 2007 @ 12:47 pm

great point GB and again- Katy. I think you’re doing a valuable job in highlighting the further issues and problems that remain once the Bill is in place. Attempts at reform are great, but if they encourage people to think that that’s it, we’ve done our bit, and don’t realise the problems that either still remain, or are part of the ‘reform’ then it can be a bit dangerous.

Of course that said, I don’t want anyone to think I am knocking people’s efforts to get this far - and of course change must come incrementally ( ha ha!) but these are very valuable points and let’s all listen to what Katy is saying. Unless we’re lawyers ourselves.. the law is an extremely complex area and we’re getting free advice here!

#62 Comment By Kulvinder On 6th March, 2007 @ 12:47 pm

I self censor myself from these types of debates now because i became trollish with Galloise Blonde and Jasvinder Sanghera awhile back, and it wasn’t very nice.

I hope everyone understands im inherently against legislation. So obviously i think this will do nothing. Its awkward as it can easily give the impression of condoning violence against women.

With the exception of specific crimes where there is monetary reward involved i don’t believe the judicial system has any real impact on the causality of human actions, and as such is an inherently illogical system. As wrong as that type of behaviour is its overly simplistic to think legal threats - civil or criminal - can change it. They’re acting for the ‘honour’ of their family.

To give you a different point of view, if i thought that killing someone was an inherently right thing to do, i would kill them. And as long as you aren’t pacifists so would any of you. These killers aren’t hiding from the judicial system, they know the consequences of murder , but it doesn’t matter. From their moral standpoint they’re doing the right thing and its ‘british society’ that is wrong. As reprehensible as their actions are, attacking them with vitriol, and throwing the book at them will only reinforce that feeling of rightousness. You could execute every single ‘honour killer’ that you found, but you wouldn’t affect the behaviour that led to it. On the contrary you may make it worse.

Katy has said more or less voiced my opposition far better than i ever could. But i will add that i think the women who do try and use this bill will unfortunately be dismissed as doing little more than trying to grab money.

You’re trying to change the behaviour of a sub-set within a paricular community. That can’t be done in a single parliment, its a long and difficult process of trying to make people empathise. This never ending New Labour desire to legislate everything as quickly as possible shows nothing more than deepseated anti-intellectualism. The answers simply aren’t that simple, and if they were the problems would have gone away a long long time ago.

#63 Comment By sonia On 6th March, 2007 @ 12:50 pm

and another point - those of us who work in the NGO world know that NGOs are always cash strapped and overworked. So real support and resources and a sharing of the workload please.

#64 Comment By sonia On 6th March, 2007 @ 12:52 pm

Kulvinder makes a brilliant point:

“From their moral standpoint they’re doing the right thing and its ‘british society’ that is wrong”

quite.

{and yes i hear it’s ‘idealistic’ to say that needs changing. how? well quite!I don’t know. but until that changes, it’s equally idealistic to flatter ourselves we’ve brought about change.}

#65 Comment By Katherine On 6th March, 2007 @ 12:54 pm

We seem to be going around in circles here. Yes, of course there needs to be evidence, and SBS clearly think that they can provide the evidence. It is a matter of them being able to help and support women and bring cases on their behalf. They have the funding, the expertise and the will to bring such cases. The will and the expertise that the police clearly do not have, since there hasn’t been a rush for the police to bring kidnapping cases, unless I’ve missed it in the press.

I think it is far far more likely that women would be prepared to sue their family through the civil courts with support and expert back up from an NGO like the SBS than through the criminal courts with the back up of the police and the CPS. Remember, in a criminal case it is the crown bringing the case, not the victim - there are rarely funding and personnel available to support victims. In a civil case like this, in contrast, the case is very much about the victim.

My apologies for the confusion re funding of criminal cases - I had thought with your reference to third parties bringing cases, lack of legal aid funding for civil cases, and the fact that you clearly consider that the existing criminal laws already do the job meant that you were referring to private criminal prosecutions, which do of course require screeds of money.

I refer again to the fact that whilst some criminal laws cover some aspects of forced marriage, there does not seem to have been a move in the police and the CPS to actually do so. Maybe it is those pesky evidential requirements. Perhaps it is that the police and the CPS are not the people that suffering women turn to - rather they look to women’s organisations with the purpose and expertise of the SBS.

I don’t have any experience of whether families who are perpectrating forced marriages on their sisters and daughters have the funds to pay a fine; neither do you, neither does anyone. I’m not sure what your point it - could you clarify? If you are trying to make a point about the reality of enforcement, might I suggest that (a) you make that point and (b) you ask yourself whether this is about money or whether this about stopping the hypothetical parents doing what they have previously done and saying loud and clear - “this is wrong”.

#66 Comment By Katherine On 6th March, 2007 @ 12:58 pm

And yes, NGOs are often strapped for cash (I work for one that, happily, mostly isn’t), but that’s no reason to hobble them further by denying them legislation to enable them to do their work, is it?

Like I said, I’m sure the SBS would love to have more funding. Clearly, they also want this legislation. From what I know of the SBS (which is a little), they wouldn’t be supporting this if they weren’t working on a few cases already.

#67 Comment By sonia On 6th March, 2007 @ 1:00 pm

yes i agree with kulvinder again when he says this:

“The answers simply aren’t that simple, and if they were the problems would have gone away a long long time ago”

precisely. questions of power aren’t that simple to resolve are they?

you know the parallel has not been brought up at all - but Kulvinder’s post made me think of it - but about the potential situation in France which allows children to sue their parents if they are not willing to pay for them to go to university ( assuming they have the money). under french socialism, the state will only pay for you if your parents can’t afford it - if they can and they wont pay for you, you have the recourse to law to make them. the snag is the kid has to bring the lawsuit. not a very helpful situation is it? ive had discussions with some french friends about this and most people have great difficulty with the idea of suing their parents to get money to go to uni.

#68 Comment By sonia On 6th March, 2007 @ 1:02 pm

and where are the daughters/sons supposed to be living whilst some NGO sues the parents on their behalf? still at home? still brings us back to the point of what is actually going to happen to that person? - they will need to be able to stand up to their parents in the first place, walk away from the family home if they lived there, have to be independent, have to have the mental strength to do all those things.

#69 Comment By sonia On 6th March, 2007 @ 1:08 pm

anyhow there’s no point in me going on. I think all the valid points that needed to be made have been made.

#70 Comment By Jagdeep On 6th March, 2007 @ 1:15 pm

Does the entire outmoded conception of the nation state have anything to do with the problem, sonia?

#71 Comment By Katherine On 6th March, 2007 @ 1:22 pm

Sonia, I’m not sure why you think that problems with other support services are a reason NOT to bring this legislation in. There are many people campaigning for much better support services, for more refuge places, for more society wide education and campaigning. How do you think these causes are helped by opposing this legislation? Are the ongoing problems around this area the fault of this legislation? Or could it be that this legislation is one small part of the tapestry of campaigning on this issue.

Anyhow, I thought it might be useful for anyone still reading this thread to hear from SBS themselves:

[6] http://www.southallblacksisters.org.uk/campaigns.html#forcedmarriage

#72 Comment By Katy On 6th March, 2007 @ 1:27 pm

It is a matter of them being able to help and support women and bring cases on their behalf. They have the funding, the expertise and the will to bring such cases. The will and the expertise that the police clearly do not have, since there hasn’t been a rush for the police to bring kidnapping cases, unless I’ve missed it in the press.

Because families are reluctant to give evidence about it! If you really do do this for a living, in any role, then you must be aware of the notorious difficulties in getting people to give evidence in these circumstances. In the nicest possible sense, please pull your head out of the sand.

I think it is far far more likely that women would be prepared to sue their family through the civil courts with support and expert back up from an NGO like the SBS than through the criminal courts with the back up of the police and the CPS. Remember, in a criminal case it is the crown bringing the case, not the victim - there are rarely funding and personnel available to support victims. In a civil case like this, in contrast, the case is very much about the victim.

I am astonished that anyone with experience of either side would say that. Actually it is exactly the opposite. In a criminal case the victim has the support of the police, the CPS and Witness Services. There are faults with those facilities, of course, but they exist. The civil courts, by contrast, are in no way equipped to support victims in this scenario. If the SBS help a victim to bring a case in the civil courts, it will be the SBS providing support and no one else.

My apologies for the confusion re funding of criminal cases - I had thought with your reference to third parties bringing cases, lack of legal aid funding for civil cases, and the fact that you clearly consider that the existing criminal laws already do the job meant that you were referring to private criminal prosecutions, which do of course require screeds of money.

No, I wasn’t. Private criminal prosecutions are almost never brought, for the very good reason that if there is adequate evidence to bring a case the police will do it for you. On the very rare occasions that they have been brought, they have collapsed catastrophically, the most recent example probably being the Stephen Lawrence case.

I refer again to the fact that whilst some criminal laws cover some aspects of forced marriage, there does not seem to have been a move in the police and the CPS to actually do so. Maybe it is those pesky evidential requirements.

What, those pesky evidential requirements that exist to protect innocent citizens from wrongful conviction? Why the sarcasm?

Perhaps it is that the police and the CPS are not the people that suffering women turn to - rather they look to women’s organisations with the purpose and expertise of the SBS.

I agree that many women do not turn to the police and CPS. It’s because (a) they don’t want to take their family to court, for a variety of reasons and (b) some sections of the police could do with training in how to deal with these very delicate situations. But the fact remains that if victims don’t come to the police then cases won’t get prosecuted. That’s why the answer is not to create new laws, but to educate within the community about the options that are available and to ensure that there is adequate protection available for women who decide to use them.

If you are trying to make a point about the reality of enforcement, might I suggest that (a) you make that point

I did make that point. That is exactly what I’m talking about. Where are the teeth in this bill? What is the point of going through the trauma of a court case and alienating your family for good, only to come out of it with no damages to keep you going whilst you try to rebuild your life? Who’s going to pay your legal costs if you didn’t get legal aid? In general these things don’t pay for themselves, you know. What if the woman loses the case? What if she doesn’t qualify for legal aid? What if she’s ordered to pay the other side’s costs? If the evidence to bring a case is found to be insufficient and the family/husband is exonerated, this could end up costing the victim of the marriage a lot of money that she doesn’t have.

(b) you ask yourself whether this is about money or whether this about stopping the hypothetical parents doing what they have previously done and saying loud and clear - “this is wrong”.

Well, the people who wrote the Act clearly think it is about money because that’s the remedy they offer for a forced marriage, so there’s no need to be snide with me. We come back to my point about laws, which is that they are supposed to create concrete remedies for people. When you think about the costs involved in a civil case that isn’t publicly funded, and the costs that could rebound on a woman who loses a case against her family, the repercussions are shocking. Can you tell me what this Act achieves that couldn’t have been achieved by an advertising campaign, aimed at the community, listing the different criminal offences and civil liabilities already in existence that are engaged when you force someone into marriage against their will?

#73 Comment By Katy On 6th March, 2007 @ 2:07 pm

Oh dear, I have turned into someone who writes long, rambling post after long, rambling post. Katherine, please don’t take anything I say personally. I would have liked things to be done differently, but as I’m not planning to stand for Parliament any time soon I probably shouldn’t complain too much.

#74 Comment By sonia On 6th March, 2007 @ 2:09 pm

actually jagdeep in this case i am concerned with the far older social institution of the family, which - similar to other social institutions, run the risk of being unnecessarily autocratic.

#75 Comment By sonia On 6th March, 2007 @ 2:11 pm

and i don’t know about other people. i can only speak for myself - i definitely see this as being about individuals able to have liberty within confining social institutions - whether that’s the nation-state, or families. in my humble opinion i think it’s an individuals’ right to choose who they have a relationship with/or not - as the case may be. but as long as the family thinks their right to behave in an ‘imperialist’ fashion then we’re gonna have trouble! like we are seeing.

#76 Comment By Jagdeep On 6th March, 2007 @ 2:19 pm

I’m impressed sonia! I was just being cheeky because you often bring the outdated conception of the nation state into arguments :-)

But while you make some good points about how the family and the nation state can potentially be oppressive to an individual it is not always the case! I love my family, they’re great. And I love England too!!!!!!!

#77 Comment By sonia On 6th March, 2007 @ 2:42 pm

of course jagdeep :-) i don’t know why you think by what im saying that would automatically impute all families are bad! heh a lot of people have been lucky enough to have supportive families - and then again - a lot aren’t! there’s so obviously a continuum, is there not?

#78 Comment By Jagdeep On 6th March, 2007 @ 2:55 pm

I guess there is a continuum of sorts Sonia. And the nation state and family analogy is not a bad one actually.

#79 Comment By Kulvinder On 6th March, 2007 @ 3:07 pm

Oh dear, I have turned into someone who writes long, rambling post after long, rambling post.

I think its brilliant :D

#80 Comment By Sahil On 6th March, 2007 @ 3:39 pm

“I think its brilliant :D”

I second that, this is a really good thread.

#81 Comment By Leon On 6th March, 2007 @ 4:49 pm

and another point - those of us who work in the NGO world know that NGOs are always cash strapped and overworked. So real support and resources and a sharing of the workload please.

Aint that the truth…

#82 Comment By douglas clark On 7th March, 2007 @ 9:32 am

Katy,

I think the arguement you developed from post 2 to your final (?) missive in post 72 is some of the best development of a POV I’ve ever seen here. And damn persuasive too. There seems to me, having read what you say, that there is no getting away from the fact that forced marriages are, almost by definition, going to be in conflict at some point with criminal law. It might have been better to gather together the potential ‘crimes’, and highlight that in a way that made it clear to the perpetrators that it isn’t just one law they are breaking, but potentially many.

I agree completely about the funding and training issues. Maybe too, the young womans right not to be subjected to this kind of treatment could be part of citizenship classes in schools or part of the ESOL training for foreign brides.

#83 Comment By sonia On 7th March, 2007 @ 11:01 am

good points douglas. Katy’s points make clear the fact that most people ( including generally otherwise well educated and fairly informed people ) actually don’t know much about the law unless they’re experts, i.e. what’s used when etc. granted that’s the case, a lot of young people under their parents thumb obviously need clear signposting.

#84 Comment By Katy On 7th March, 2007 @ 11:45 am

Thanks, guys - but oh dear. Disclaimer time. I should make it crystal clear that my comments are not legal advice. They represent my personal view on the Bill as it currently stands - and it is bound to be amended at least once before it is passed - in the context of a political discussion. I am not a family lawyer and a family lawyer might take a completely different view.

Anyone who is at risk of domestic violence or in a forced marriage and who wants advice about their situation should contact a solicitor who specialises in family law (the Law Society will give you a list of suitable solicitors if you aren’t sure where to go) or a specialist NGO such as the Southall Black Sisters.

#85 Comment By sonia On 7th March, 2007 @ 11:52 am

that’s another thing - as Katy points out, everyone would need to get advice from an expert who can advise them on their particular situation. a lot of people/kids probably have no idea where to start even in thinking in terms of who to ask/where to get such a list. Signposting them to where they can get advice/help would be a great start

#86 Comment By Sunny On 7th March, 2007 @ 3:34 pm

But you do still need evidence in the first place. How likely do you think it is that either women in forced marriages or third parties will sue the families in the civil courts if they were too afraid to pursue the case in the criminal courts with the police and the CPS behind them?

Katy this remains to be seen, otherwise I presume SBS and others would not be pursuing this line of action. At least this way case workers can sue on behalf of victims after gathering evidence as opposed to trying to persuade victims to.

If, on the other hand, I was under 16, and was told by my mother, “I’m not letting you back in the house unless you marry the man I’ve chosen for you”, that would almost certainly come within the bracket of the offence of cruelty to/neglect of a child, and would be punishable with imprisonment under criminal law.

I don’t disagree, but I think part of the problem in tackling forced marriages was that because the law was unclear and because socialservices/police felt like they didn’t want to be accused of racism - many were afraid of interfering.

Having a specific law against forced marriage and having that driven by an ethnic minority womens group send out a strong message to them too, that they should not turn a blind eye to FM.

What none of you seem to appreciate is that both civil and criminal cases are based on EVIDENCE.

To be honest I don’t think this is the major stumbling block. If a woman has run away to a refuge because she’s been forced, I think there’s a good chance she’ll be willing to testify, only because running to a refuge takes a lot of courage in itself and is a big step.

Where are the teeth in this bill? What is the point of going through the trauma of a court case and alienating your family for good, only to come out of it with no damages to keep you going whilst you try to rebuild your life?

I think this is the big concern, so I want to see whether this bill will have any impact too. Otherwise I’m happy to suppot complete criminalisation.

#87 Comment By Katy On 7th March, 2007 @ 8:55 pm

I very much doubt that SBS would bring a case on behalf of a victim without that victim’s consent. They are only too aware of the repercussions that women might face from their partners or families if these things are aired in court, you see, and I doubt that they would risk bringing a case against a victim’s family without the consent of the victim. And if the victim won’t agree to testify herself, she’s hardly likely to agree to the SBS going to court and saying “The victim told us this about her families”. .

But I can’t really add much to what I’ve already said. Reluctance on the part of women to give evidence in domestic cases is a big problem: fact. But if you don’t accept that that’s up to you.

#88 Comment By Katy On 7th March, 2007 @ 10:07 pm

Bored with forced marriages now. Would rather discuss the fact that Jade Goody is in the running to win “Best Mum Of The Year”.

#89 Comment By William On 7th March, 2007 @ 10:11 pm

The psycho emotional effects on a person can also be a bit more convoluted and long term than we might think. This also might not just be females although it seems to be mostly women who the worst stuff happens to.

Outwardly a person who is pressurised might be making moves to resist/move away from a situation. They may also know it is wrong logically and ethically. Inwardly however they might be desparately confused, believing they have done something wrong because of the closeness of family ties/networks and social and family codes they have been exposed to.

There may be situations where they are living constantly in fear. If someone is living in the same town as their extended family there are situations where they may be afraid to go out. There have been situations where a person finds themselves moving around from place to place in their own town trying not to bump into members of their own family even just while going shopping. Being in a state of hypervigilance is not very nice. The person concerned may already be too stressed to want to file for civil process and all that involves.

Sunny may be right though in that it might give out a symbolic message. This would specify the problem specifically.


Article printed from Pickled Politics: http://www.pickledpolitics.com

URL to article: http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/1030

URLs in this post:
[1] Observer today: http://politics.guardian.co.uk/homeaffairs/story/0,,2026175,00.html
[2] here: http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/979
[3] comment is free: http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/sunny_hundal/2007/01/time_to_ban_forced_marriages.html
[4] discussion: http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/987
[5] here: http://www.odysseustrust.org/forcedmarriage/index.html
[6] http://www.southallblacksisters.org.uk/campaigns.html#forcedmarriage: http://www.southallblacksisters.org.uk/campaigns.html#forcedmarriage