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  • Technorati: graph / links

    Doctors to act on forced marriages


    by Sunny
    2nd July, 2007 at 1:49 am    

    There’s more movement on the forced marriage and family murder front. It was recently revealed that the Crown Prosecution Service was planning to deploy special prosecutors so conviction rates on forced marriages and “honour” killings / family murder were boosted.

    Now the Forced Marriage Unit is urging doctors tolook out for signs of depression and self-harm among Asian girls and women, alerting police if they believe there is a risk of a crime such as rape or kidnap being committed.

    Again, a good idea in my view (thanks Galloise Blonde). Some people will inevitably complain about excessive meddling and “stigmatising” etc but then those people have never really cared for women’s rights. In such cases I would rather be safe than sorry so that the practice is eradicated. We need a comprehensive approach to tackling this social issue.
    Incidentally, GB also highlights a campaign to get Justice for Jassi, a Panjabi girl murdered by her family in Canada for the above reasons. If you can, please raise awareness of this campaign.

    Updated: Yahoo News has better coverage of what is actually being proposed.


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    Filed in: Sex equality






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    1. Katy Newton — on 2nd July, 2007 at 7:15 am  

      Some people will inevitably complain about excessive meddling and “stigmatising” etc but then those people have never really cared for women’s rights.

      I’ll bet they will! I actually don’t know where to start with what’s wrong with this:

      1. Cleveland scandal, anyone? This is the sort of thinking that has previously led to children being taken away from innocent parents and put into care by overzealous social workers, causing immense pain to all members of the family before the allegations were proved to be groundless. In some cases the children had been forcibly adopted by then.

      2. People of all ethnicities suffer from depression and/or self-harm for a variety of different reasons. I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that mostly it isn’t because they are about to be forced to marry someone they don’t like. When did it become all right to assume that those symptoms are signs of forced marriage in Asians where you wouldn’t assume anything of the sort in respect of non-Asian people?

      3. Women are supposed to be empowered, aren’t they? The way to deal with women who are afraid to leave their husbands is to support them in making their own decisions and have proper faciities in place to enable them to escape and to be protected whilst their situation is dealt with, not to take it out of their hands.

      4. If women are afraid of being seriously hurt or killed by members of their families, all this stupid rule will do is make women afraid to confide in their doctors for fear of the repercussions if they are found out. Women will not tell their doctors if they think they will go straight to the police. And it is also likely that their families or husbands will stop letting them go to the doctor.

      It just drives another wedge between abused women and the help that might otherwise be out there for them.

    2. The Common Humanist — on 2nd July, 2007 at 11:57 am  

      I think what absolutley strikes many Brits (of all stripes) as bizarre and, lets be honest, deeply and badly wrong, is the notion that in themindset of some Asian Brits that the cold blooded murder of a child is LESS dishonourable then letting them go out with who they want to.

      The brain, mine in particular, starts to fizz slightly trying to see how a mind, particularly of a parent, can cross the immense divide from mild scorn/ sarcasm (traditional UK method of dealing with dislike other halves of offspring)) to multiple stab wounds…..

      The notion, in any culture, that murder is somehow honourable is fucked up beyond belief.

    3. sabinaahmed — on 2nd July, 2007 at 4:46 pm  

      Sunny

      There has been a negative reaction from the General Medical Council to this proposal.They too fear that this will damage the trust between doctors and their patients.And they dont really see their role as the societys policemen.
      I agree very much with the above post.I can not comprehend how can a parent descend to something like this.

    4. sonia — on 2nd July, 2007 at 5:03 pm  

      i agree with katy. there are lots of cases of depression and self-harm where there has been nothing to do with forced marriage. and what about the doctor patient privacy thing? its one thing if a doctor - like any other person who may be close to the ‘victim’ would want to offer advice etc.

      i still think all of this is skirting around the issue - its taking a very typical ‘service’ orientated approach - yes you want medical access for people who need it, yes you need shelters, yes you need social services.

      BUT THE ROOT CAUSES - WHAT ABOUT THOSE?

      as long as these debates don’t fool people into thinking somehow this is ‘doing enough’ i don’t mind talking about this. But this is all ‘alleviation’ stuff.

    5. sonia — on 2nd July, 2007 at 5:03 pm  

      i think katy’s point 4 is something worth considering.

    6. sonia — on 2nd July, 2007 at 5:12 pm  

      Actually, i think all of katy’s points are spot on, particularly about the empowerment issue. none of this stuff is really about working out how that might work. no a problematic assumption seems to be that ‘oh these poor women have no backbone, which is why they’re in the situation they are, so we have to keep treating them in that way” yes, people need help, they need real help to get out from subordinate positions, they don’t need a ‘i feel sorry for you there there’ approach which might keep them dependent. the main thing that’s hardest to address is precisely the victim mentality. yes its really fucking hard to address but that is the big problem ( in addition to fucked up parents)

      the issues here are: social control, and fixed social roles that people are struggling to get out of.

    7. sonia — on 2nd July, 2007 at 5:15 pm  

      and there seems to be a flavour of determinism here - doctors to ‘act on ‘ forced marriages as if forced marriage is some kind of bacteria!

      incredible. the men can’t be taught new tricks, they’ll carry on with their stuff, so in the meantime, the Home Office and the Doctors are the ones who are going to ‘fix’ the problem.

      Goodness.

    8. sonia — on 2nd July, 2007 at 5:17 pm  

      and before the emotionally blackmailing crew show up, let me say that criticism of these so-called ‘solutions’ does not mean the problem is severe. precisely because the problem is so severe, and such a terrible situation, we simply cannot be content with any suggestions that these might be adequate measures. a swab of dettol, that’s about it.

    9. Sunny — on 2nd July, 2007 at 5:43 pm  

      1. Cleveland scandal, anyone?

      I think its unhelpful to use one or two outlier examples to show why an entire piece of legislation or action may be wrong. Plenty of people get wrongly convicted of murder but that isn’t reason enough to get rid of the law around that area.

      2. People of all ethnicities suffer from depression and/or self-harm for a variety of different reasons.

      The problem is more acute with British Asian women - who have three times the average for depression.

      I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that mostly it isn’t because they are about to be forced to marry someone they don’t like.

      Given that marriage is deemed to be a big part of an Asian girl’s life (pressure starts from anywhere between 16 - 26 after which they may be deemed to be ‘left on the shelf’) I think you’re out on a limb here.

      3. Women are supposed to be empowered, aren’t they?

      But no one is arguing against empowering them too. Social services can play a vital part in understanding girls who end up in hospital and for boosting conviction rates. The same processes are used in rape cases normally, why can’t empowerment be alongside such social support?

      4. If women are afraid of being seriously hurt or killed by members of their families, all this stupid rule will do is make women afraid to confide in their doctors for fear of the repercussions if they are found out.

      That assumes the doctor will do something to make their lives worse. It is more likely that a doctor will suggest and talk to them further to offer support.

      In addition, it may be that Asian girls are reluctant to confide in doctors anyway, making it much harder for doctors to help them.

      And it is also likely that their families or husbands will stop letting them go to the doctor.

      This is my only worry. But I doubt news of this will circulate to the village-mentality idiots who do this anyway. They live in their own world anyway.

    10. Devil's Kitchen — on 2nd July, 2007 at 6:01 pm  

      They live in their own world anyway.

      So, apparently, do you.

      DK

    11. Katy Newton — on 2nd July, 2007 at 6:22 pm  

      I think its unhelpful to use one or two outlier examples to show why an entire piece of legislation or action may be wrong.

      No, it isn’t unhelpful. It’s called learning from past mistakes. This sort of thing leads to witch hunts. Nor are they outlier examples.

      Plenty of people get wrongly convicted of murder but that isn’t reason enough to get rid of the law around that area.

      I am not sure what point you’re trying to make here. Forced marriages are against the law and I’m not suggesting they shouldn’t be. I’m saying that this is clearly not the best way to deal with it.

      The problem is more acute with British Asian women - who have three times the average for depression.

      And is that directly linked to forced marriages or domestic abuse?

      Given that marriage is deemed to be a big part of an Asian girl’s life (pressure starts from anywhere between 16 - 26 after which they may be deemed to be ‘left on the shelf’) I think you’re out on a limb here.

      I Is feeling under pressure to marry someone that your parents like the same thing as forced marriage? Do you want a situation where parents are at risk of police investigation because they told their children they would prefer it if they underwent an arranged marriage?

      But no one is arguing against empowering them too.

      When you take the choice of how and when to report abuse away from a woman who is abused, you are taking away what little power she has over her life. The answer in these situations is support. Not taking over as if women are overgrown children who can’t make decisions for themselves.

      Social services can play a vital part in understanding girls who end up in hospital and for boosting conviction rates.

      I don’t deny it. That’s not the point. The point is who chooses to make the report.

      The same processes are used in rape cases normally, why can’t empowerment be alongside such social support?

      Women are never forced to report rape cases and there is no duty upon a doctor as far as I am aware to report that a woman has been raped if she doesn’t want people to know. In fact, I believe it is the case that to do so would be an active breach of doctor-patient confidentiality.

      That assumes the doctor will do something to make their lives worse. It is more likely that a doctor will suggest and talk to them further to offer support.

      Sunny, you linked to the article and the article says that doctors have been told to *report* these cases. I sincerely hope that most doctors will be sensible enough not to do that without the consent of their patients but that is what they have been told to do. And I am sure you do not need to be told that most women in this situation not only feel at risk of repercussions if they tell anyone - they are at risk and it is not always a risk that the state can protect them against. If a woman is going to be put in that sort of danger it must be as a result of her fully informed and properly supported decision - it is outrageous to consider taking it out of her hands.

      This is my only worry. But I doubt news of this will circulate to the village-mentality idiots who do this anyway. They live in their own world anyway.

      Really. You don’t think they’ll get to know about this? I think that’s a very naive way of looking at it.

      I note that Sonia and Sabina both agree with me, by the way. I would have thought that that might count for something, no? The views of three out of three women who’ve commented?

      Hello ladies :-)

      I must say that things would be much better for women if men would actually have a go at listening to what women want rather than charging in and taking their decisions out of their hands.

    12. Katy Newton — on 2nd July, 2007 at 6:29 pm  

      Given that marriage is deemed to be a big part of an Asian girl’s life (pressure starts from anywhere between 16 - 26 after which they may be deemed to be ‘left on the shelf’) I think you’re out on a limb here.

      I want to come back to this, actually. I think you are kidding yourself if you think that non-Asian women don’t also suffer from depression caused by clashes with their parents over their choice of partner.

      I am not anti criminalisation of forced marriage - although as we know from previous discussions, I am anti the creation of new laws where none are needed. But I am very much opposed to a situation where women are treated like children, where they feel unable to talk to their doctor freely in case their doctor decides to go and spill all to the police. And that is what those doctors have been told to do. That must be wrong.

    13. Muzumdar — on 2nd July, 2007 at 6:29 pm  

      Katy

      And is that directly linked to forced marriages or domestic abuse?

      I think a huge percentage of the depression is to do with forced marriage. It plays on young girls’ minds from a very very early age that they will have no choice in their life partner, when everyone else around them has that choice.

      What has domestic abuse got to do with it? You’re bringing your own stereotypes into the discussion with no basis.

      I Is feeling under pressure to marry someone that your parents like the same thing as forced marriage?

      No, but the former usually leads to the latter.

      The answer in these situations is support. Not taking over as if women are overgrown children who can’t make decisions for themselves.

      Agreed. But support is only half the battle, empowerment is what is really needed.

    14. Katy Newton — on 2nd July, 2007 at 6:42 pm  

      And Sunny - I *really* don’t think that most Asian women are being forced into marriages. Pressure - almost certainly; I don’t know if you noticed but although I have never been under that pressure myself I do come from a culture in which it is rife. But unless you’ve got evidence which demonstrates that the majority of Asian women are being marched off at gunpoint I will hesitantly suggest (because I’m not going to pretend that I’m in a position to know for sure) that it’s a real disservice to the Asian community to suggest that they are.

    15. Katy Newton — on 2nd July, 2007 at 6:43 pm  

      Agreed. But support is only half the battle, empowerment is what is really needed.

      Making decisions for women without their consent is not empowering them. Fact. Giving them the support to make the decision for themselves - THAT’S empowering them.

    16. Chairwoman — on 2nd July, 2007 at 6:45 pm  

      Ok everybody. Listen up!

      I’m a parent from a culture that does not have ‘forced’ marriages, but where the most ‘devout’ have arranged marriages.

      I think arranged marriages are a great idea

      Not forced marriages. Forced marriages are a bad thing, but a situation where young men and women were introduced to each other in circumstances where they understand that they are looking at marriage, rather than a fling, is a good thing.

      I would have a similar system for lesbian women and gay men.

      Hang me, draw me, and quarter me.

      BTW and the late Chairman chose each other, and that worked too.

    17. Katy Newton — on 2nd July, 2007 at 6:46 pm  

      Agreed. But support is only half the battle, empowerment is what is really needed.

      *sigh*

      Taking decisions out of women’s hands is not empowering them, it is belittling them. I would actually define abuse of women, fundamentally, as taking away her control over her own life. I am sorry that you and Sunny think that the state should do that too.

      Giving women the support and protection that they need to make the decision themselves - that’s empowering.

    18. Chairwoman — on 2nd July, 2007 at 6:47 pm  

      That should have said ‘BTW, I and the late Chairman chose each other, and that worked too’.

    19. Chairwoman — on 2nd July, 2007 at 6:52 pm  

      These are the first lines of an old English folk song called ‘The Waggoner’s Lad’. It’s probably a couple of hundred years old.

      ‘Oh hard is the fortune of all womankind,
      She’s always controlled, she’s always confined,
      Controlled by her parents, until she’s a wife,
      A slave to her husband, the rest of her life’.

      I think that says a lot.

    20. Muzumdar — on 2nd July, 2007 at 6:59 pm  

      Katy

      Yes, I agree with you. I had an earlier post removed which said much the same thing you say re: empowerment (although my choice language may have irked Lord Sunny).

      Basically, I said that it’s time for brown women to empower themselves by getting educated, getting a job, moving out, and sticking two fingers up at the suggestion of a unwanted marriage partner. Or something like that.

    21. Clairwil — on 2nd July, 2007 at 7:18 pm  

      I’m with Katy on this one. I also wonder how many Asian women would go on to develop more serious health problems or even commit suicide through leaving their depression untreated for fear of their GP reporting them.

      At least if they can access the confidential services of their GP there is a chance they might get their condition controlled and gain the confidence to stand up for themselves.

    22. Sunny — on 2nd July, 2007 at 7:23 pm  

      No, it isn’t unhelpful. It’s called learning from past mistakes.

      Any legal system will make mistakes. I’m saying lets not use some mistakes, that are not systematic, to assume mistakes will be made in every case.

      And is that directly linked to forced marriages or domestic abuse?

      Can you think of any other reason?

      Do you want a situation where parents are at risk of police investigation because they told their children they would prefer it if they underwent an arranged marriage?

      If a parent merely showed their daughter a picture of a guy and left her the option then obviously there would be no depression and no way the police can get involved.

      If persistent harassment and emotional blackmail by parents pushes a girl towards self-harm / suicide then yes I’d like to have the police involved.

      When you take the choice of how and when to report abuse away from a woman who is abused, you are taking away what little power she has over her life.

      There is this assumption here that after a certain age, people are mentally capable of looking after themselves without fail. I’m not saying women should be treated as as helpless beings. I’m saying the problem is so widespread that lawmakers and doctors should be drawn in and made more aware.

      So if a child is being abused we expect social services to get involved regardless, because we assume they cannot help themselves. I’m not saying this applies across the board for Asian women, but I know of many who are simply incapable of standing up to the bullying of their parents, and they need outside support.

      Really. You don’t think they’ll get to know about this? I think that’s a very naive way of looking at it.

      Given that forced marriages/”honour” killings have not receeded despite widespread condemnation in the press I think this is an accurate picture. You forget, many of these people are mostly cut off from mainstream media and listen to their local Desi radio / Sabras radio and that’s about it.

      Women are never forced to report rape cases and there is no duty upon a doctor as far as I am aware to report that a woman has been raped

      Point taken, although I was referring to measures to help victims and boost conviction rates. The law in those cases is also there, it’s just sometimes oblivious to the problems faced by victims.

      I must say that things would be much better for women if men would actually have a go at listening to what women want rather than charging in and taking their decisions out of their hands.

      I find this patronising. I’m not listening or not listening to women because they are women or not, in the same way I wouldn’t take any argument made by a Muslim on Muslim issues - I’ll consider an argument on its merits. This is a fuzzy area and there aren’t any sides either way. I would just like more medical involvement than there is now.

      I doubt the Forced Marriage Unit just woke up one day and decided it was a good idea. And it may be the doctors are reluctant to get involved because they don’t want to be branded by the MCB as Islamophobic or to be branded as racist.

      I think you are kidding yourself if you think that non-Asian women don’t also suffer from depression caused by clashes with their parents over their choice of partner.

      I think you under-estimate the extent to which this is a big problem within the Asian communities, especially within conservative families.

      And Sunny - I *really* don’t think that most Asian women are being forced into marriages. Pressure - almost certainly;

      There is a very hazy line between forced marriages and ‘persuasion’ that involves constantly harassing them about not being married, emotional blackmail, constantly introducing them to preferred guys so they eventually give up, saying no to the girl’s preferred partners etc.

      If you want to try and draw a clear line - go ahead.

    23. Chairwoman — on 2nd July, 2007 at 7:33 pm  

      ‘There is a very hazy line between forced marriages and ‘persuasion’ that involves constantly harassing them about not being married, emotional blackmail, constantly introducing them to preferred guys so they eventually give up, saying no to the girl’s preferred partners etc.’

      What society, apart from Chavs, doesn’t this sound like?

    24. Katy Newton — on 2nd July, 2007 at 7:41 pm  

      Can you think of any other reason?

      HUNDREDS! Exam pressure. Work pressure. Marriage or relationship not working for reasons not connected with forced marriage. Dissatisfaction with looks or weight. Deaths or illness in the family. Inherited predisposition towards depression. Dietary problems. Undiagnosed illness. Postnatal depression. Serious PMT. Do you think that forced marriage is the only problem Asian women have? Believe it or not, they do actually have some problems in common with white women. Yes, it’s true. They are not different species.

      If persistent harassment and emotional blackmail by parents pushes a girl towards self-harm / suicide then yes I’d like to have the police involved.

      Really? At what point between “I would like you to consider marrying this man” and “If you don’t marry this man I will never speak to you again”, or “if you do marry THIS man I will never speak to you again” do you cross the line between persuasion and harassment? Are you saying that parents have a duty to stay in touch with their grown up children no matter what they do? Did you know that non-Asian parents and children frequently don’t speak because one of them doesn’t like the other’s partner? Are we going to criminalise them too? And as for “driving people to self-harm”, I agree that that is a bad thing, but where does it stop? A girl’s boyfriend breaks up with her at school; she starts to starve herself because he said he didn’t find her attractive. Does he go to prison? How was he supposed to know she’d do that? What about parents who pressure their children to do well at exams? Children who achieve highly often self harm or have eating disorders. They hide it well. Their parents don’t know. Are they going into care? Are their parents going to prison? Sunny - this just doesn’t WORK.

      I find this patronising.

      You don’t find it patronising that the state wants doctors to report women’s partners or families to the police behind their backs, but you found it patronising that I suggested that perhaps what women want is a relevant consideration. Right.

      I doubt the Forced Marriage Unit just woke up one day and decided it was a good idea.

      Er… that is exactly what they did do. How long has that unit been in existence? A matter of weeks, as I understand it.

      And it may be the doctors are reluctant to get involved because they don’t want to be branded by the MCB as Islamophobic or to be branded as racist.

      No, Sunny, they don’t want to get involved because they know that measures like this will stop women from confiding in their doctors or even from coming to see them, and that will undoubtedly have repercussions for their physical and emotional health.

      I think you under-estimate the extent to which this is a big problem within the Asian communities, especially within conservative families.

      Maybe. But whether it’s a big problem or not, this is the wrong way to deal with it. As Sonia and Sabina said above, I’ll remind you - so don’t make out that I’m some know-it-all white girl messing around with stuff she doesn’t understand.

      If you want to try and draw a clear line - go ahead.

      No, Sunny, you misunderstand me. The line is between coercion and non-coercion. That is the only line that can be drawn. I know that there is no other clear line that can be drawn and that is why this will.not.work. It will only increase the distance between abused women and the State.

    25. Galloise Blonde — on 2nd July, 2007 at 7:53 pm  

      The Forced Marriage Unit has been in existence for eight years.

    26. Katy Newton — on 2nd July, 2007 at 7:58 pm  

      The Forced Marriage Unit has been in existence for eight years

      GB - I don’t care. I thought they had been formed very recently, but it doesn’t change my basic point, which is that this is still not the right way to deal with a serious and deeply rooted abuse against women who, by reason of that abuse, are already isolated. It cuts off a precious mechanism through which abused women can get confidential help and support.

    27. Katy Newton — on 2nd July, 2007 at 8:02 pm  

      I have posted a comment already saying that it doesn’t matter how long they’ve been in existence, it is still a development that will serve only to further isolate women who are already seriously cut off from outside assistance. But the site is being a little strange so I don’t know if it has registered.

    28. Katy Newton — on 2nd July, 2007 at 8:03 pm  

      GB - I don’t care.

      Oh dear. That sounded terribly rude. I didn’t mean it that way.

      It is because I feel so strongly about women being abused in this way that I am expressing myself in these terms. I am aghast at the thought of leaving women in a situation where they cannot trust anyone! It can take years for a woman to get up the courage to leave an abusive situation of any kind. Measures like this are absolute madness. Abused women need someone they can trust. This measure takes a large portion of that away.

    29. Galloise Blonde — on 2nd July, 2007 at 8:09 pm  

      I think the report from the Telegraph is pretty garbled. If you read the FMU’s advice to Health Professionals, it just says they should refer, not report them to the police.

      http://www.fco.gov.uk/Files/kfile/Health%20Guidelines%20FINAL.pdf

      And this para

      Women who reveal that they are under pressure to marry should be urged to write a statement demanding action if they do not make contact by a scheduled return date or, in some cases, provide healthcare staff with a copy of their passport.

      is just recommending standard FMU guidelines for women who fear they may be forcibly taken overseas.

    30. Sunny — on 2nd July, 2007 at 8:17 pm  

      Believe it or not, they do actually have some problems in common with white women. Yes, it’s true. They are not different species.

      Um, that doesn’t explain the three times rate of depression for Asian women.

      Did you know that non-Asian parents and children frequently don’t speak because one of them doesn’t like the other’s partner? Are we going to criminalise them too?

      Huh? Who said anything about criminalising them?

      A girl’s boyfriend breaks up with her at school; she starts to starve herself because he said he didn’t find her attractive. Does he go to prison?

      Conjuring up bizarre scenarios doesn’t help make any point. No he wouldn’t go to a prison. I’m assuming the police would take an interest here to see whether the girl has run away from home recently, whether she has been admitted in hospital, whether there is a danger she may be kidnapped and taken to another country. Who is actually advocating locking up random people over broken relationships?

      You don’t find it patronising that the state wants doctors to report women’s partners or families to the police behind their backs

      No one said it was a clearcut case and there aren’t difficult moral problems here. However I would like this to happen if we are to put more pressure on Asian parents to reform their behaviour.

      Er… that is exactly what they did do. How long has that unit been in existence? A matter of weeks, as I understand it.

      You understand wrong.

      The Foreign Office originally set up the Forced Marriage Unit in 2000. It was re-launched in January last year as a joint venture with the Home Office with an annual budget of £300,000.

      http://www.asiansinmedia.org/news/article.php/current_affairs/1254

      No, Sunny, they don’t want to get involved because they know that measures like this will stop women from confiding in their doctors or even from coming to see them, and that will undoubtedly have repercussions for their physical and emotional health.

      No one has said doctors should be forced to do this. But I think making the recommendation that they may want to look out for signs is a good idea IMO.

      Are you discounting any worry that they may be branded racist? That was the case when treating ethnic minorities in mental health, remember?

      Maybe. But whether it’s a big problem or not, this is the wrong way to deal with it.

      Maybe, and I could be wrong. But I’d rather we try different things. There are women groups vehemently against criminalisation of forced marriage as they were for it. There isn’t one view on this issue in what works and what doesn’t. We should try different things.

      so don’t make out that I’m some know-it-all white girl messing around with stuff she doesn’t understand

      As I’ve said, I find your gender and race irrelevant. The arguments apply to Sonia and Sabina too.

      The line is between coercion and non-coercion. That is the only line that can be drawn

      I don’t believe a line can be drawn between mental / verbal coercion and non-coercion. Physical yes.

      Incidentally, I believe Rahila Gupta, from Southall Black Sisters, in her next book says that arranged marriage is also a form of social control and subjugation of women. I agree with that too. I believe children should be free to make mistakes about marriage. This is for Chairwoman auntie.

    31. Galloise Blonde — on 2nd July, 2007 at 8:26 pm  

      I’m not being clear above. FMU guidance if someone has been told they are being taken abroad for the purposes of forcing marriage is: don’t go, and if you must, take a copy of your passport and estimated date of return and leave it with a trusted person in order that they have all the information to pass on to the FMU if they don’t return as scheduled so that they can take action. Asking health professionals to play that role seems helpful to me when the person in question can be extremely isolated.

    32. Galloise Blonde — on 2nd July, 2007 at 8:28 pm  

      Sunny, the suicide rate for Asian women is three times higher, are you thinking of that when you say depression?

    33. Devil's Kitchen — on 2nd July, 2007 at 8:35 pm  

      There are women groups vehemently against criminalisation of forced marriage as they were for it.

      I’m sure that there were. Unfortunately, they live in Britain, where we tend to frown on abduction and slavery. So much so that we, y’know, made both things illegal.

      If women’s groups really were campaigning for forced marriage (which I find very hard to believe but, then again, there is no shortage of stupid and evil people in this world), may I suggest that they might feel happier in some place where kidnapping and slavery is still considered to be part of the “traditional culture”.

      DK

    34. neva4get84 — on 2nd July, 2007 at 8:39 pm  

      I think there is the possibility of integrating both the “empowerment” aspect mentioned in this thread with the medical approach. Not to get too specific but the most effective NHS psychotherapy ( by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence) for depression, anxiety and stress is that of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which challenges the clients irrational thinking patterns and empowers people with behavioural skills to put their changed perceptions into practice. I guess what I am trying to say is that it isn’t an either or debate; nor should medical involvement be seen as treating a passive patient of sorts.

      Also on another point; yes it is quite true that most Asian Women have shared goals and issues with other women. But I think it would be ignorant not to acknowledge the fact that forced marriages are a real problem (clearly it should be done with tact); although to be honest being an Asian woman I don’t really know how prevalent it is today. I think/hope times have moved on a great deal. I may not know of anyone who has faced a forced marriage however I don’t think this is coincidence. Women who are forced into marriage are less likely to have been given the chance to live out at or even attend uni or go out with their mates etc. Just because we can’t see the problem doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

    35. Sunny — on 2nd July, 2007 at 8:47 pm  

      If women’s groups really were campaigning for forced marriage

      I don’t have much faith in your intelligence anyway DK, but read what I wrote, again. To help, you I suggest concentrating on the key words ‘criminalisation of’.

      May I suggest you slink back to your blog where it’s easy for you to feign intelligence behind a load of expletives.

    36. Katy Newton — on 2nd July, 2007 at 8:53 pm  

      Um, that doesn’t explain the three times rate of depression for Asian women.

      Sunny, the suicide rate for Asian women is three times higher, are you thinking of that when you say depression?

      I am not saying that it is not a bigger problem for Asian women than for white women but to suggest that the only cause of Asian female depression is forced marriage cannot be right. I am sure that it does account for some of the increased rate, but then again I don’t know whether, for example, taking ADs is something that is accepted or taboo within the Asian community; I don’t know if they feel able to seek counselling; I know that in some African cultures, for example, mental illness and depression are taboo, and people who would benefit from counselling or medication do not feel able to seek help for it.

      Suicide is certainly a result of untreated depression but that still doesn’t mean that every Asian woman who commits suicide does so because of pressure to marry.

      And whatever the scale of the problem this is not the way to deal with it.

      Are you discounting any worry that they may be branded racist? That was the case when treating ethnic minorities in mental health, remember?

      Yes. It isn’t a race issue, it’s a confidentiality issue. I think perhaps you don’t appreciate how ingrained patient confidentiality is for doctors. Look at the Telegraph article. “The judgment has to be for GPs about when something constitutes such a threat that it overrides the basic duty of confidentiality they owe their patient. We don’t want to become policemen, and we also don’t want to see GPs setting off any kind of chain reaction which actually increases the danger to the patient.”

      Conjuring up bizarre scenarios doesn’t help make any point.

      Don’t blame me for taking your premise to its logical conclusion. You said that the police should be involved if parents put emotional pressure short of coercion on their children to marry. That’s what you said. How is emotional pressure to marry someone any different from emotional pressure to lose weight if both lead to someone self-harming or starving themselves?

      The Foreign Office originally set up the Forced Marriage Unit in 2000. It was re-launched in January last year as a joint venture with the Home Office with an annual budget of £300,000.

      So GB said. Look, I don’t care if they think it’s a good idea or not. It obviously isn’t. You said yourself that it was a measure that could stop people from going to the doctor but that their “village mentality” mitigated against that (which, incidentally, is a little patronising of you to them, isn’t it?).

      There isn’t one view on this issue in what works and what doesn’t.

      I agree. But if it is the case - and having read what GB says I am no longer sure that it is - if it is the case that the government is telling doctors to tell the police about abuse suffered by women behind their backs, then that is clearly a stupid thing to do because it leaves a woman who has nowhere else to go with nowhere else to go. Sorry. Support - urging women to report - that’s fine - IF you have the protection and financial resources to help them escape and keep them safe.

      I don’t believe a line can be drawn between mental / verbal coercion and non-coercion. Physical yes.

      I don’t understand what you mean. Are you saying that if I were to say to my 18 year old child, “If you marry that man I’ll never talk to you again”, that the police should be called? Like it or not, an 18 year old is an adult. And compelling parents to continue to live with and support an adult child who - for whatever crazy reason - they don’t want to live with and support is wrong.

      I think that there is too much emphasis on grand public gestures and not enough emphasis on FUNDS and PROTECTION and SUPPORT for women who need somewhere to escape to. But I’ve said that before.

    37. Devil's Kitchen — on 2nd July, 2007 at 9:12 pm  

      Sunny,

      I don’t have much faith in your intelligence anyway DK, but read what I wrote, again. To help, you I suggest concentrating on the key words ‘criminalisation of’.

      Look, old chap, you do understand that forced marriage is, at base, abduction and slavery; these were already illegal and have been for many years. That we have made a specific offence covering this is all very encouraging, but forced marriage has been, in effect, illegal for some hundreds of years (in this country anyway).

      So, those campaigning against the criminalisation of forced marriage (and I do remember now: were they not arguing that more women would be kidnapped and forced abroad to marry? [A geniune question, rather than a jibe there.]) were actually campaigning against the criminalisation of something that was already criminal.

      May I suggest you slink back to your blog where it’s easy for you to feign intelligence behind a load of expletives.

      Oh dear, oh dear: most people assume that those who swear a lot are not very intelligent so if I wanted to appear more intelligent than I am, I wouldn’t swear now, would I?

      But the fact that you keep on hiding behind your “DK swears so he is actually thick” comments hardly inspires, frankly. One would expect someone with your massively agile mind and important MSM experience to come up with something better.

      DK

    38. Galloise Blonde — on 2nd July, 2007 at 9:27 pm  

      The circumstances around breaking confidentiallity are addressed on page 22. They are in no way specific to FM: the document simply restates the already existing grounds under which doctors may disclose information.

      This is just the latest version of guidelines from the FMU, and is neither new nor a grand gesture. It’s just the first time I’ve noticed one in the press. There are also version for the police, teachers and social workers which have been in currency (but largely ignored) for ages. Yahoo News has quite a different version of events than the Telegraph which is closer in spirit to the actual guidelines.

    39. Don — on 2nd July, 2007 at 9:39 pm  

      ‘…actually campaigning against the criminalisation of something that was already criminal.’

      Well, more opposed to introducing new legislation which would redefine something that was already criminal. With attendant consequences.

      Are you saying that was a witless position to hold? Whether or not you agree.

    40. Katy Newton — on 2nd July, 2007 at 10:21 pm  

      GB, I think my basic position on this topic generally is that there’s not much point in raising consciousness on the part of abused women if you don’t back that up by providing them with a safe, viable escape route and protection thereafter.

    41. Galloise Blonde — on 2nd July, 2007 at 10:23 pm  

      Our experience as a women’s rights organisation (and this is by no means unique to our group) is that individuals seek help from authorities and do not recieve it, and this, really is what the FMU’s guidelines to public sector workers are designed to address.

      Our further experience is that when confidentiality breaches are problematic, this is not through involving other agencies, but when officials break the cardinal rule: do not contact the family.

      I think the Telegraph skimmed the document and just looked at the flowchart on the final page and assumed that disclosure was the goal of doctor’s intervetion. If they had read it, they would have realised it was the last resort.

    42. Galloise Blonde — on 2nd July, 2007 at 10:42 pm  

      We recommend that doctors, teachers, etc etc research the support available in their area well in advance of any appeal for help so that they make the best recommendations and referrels.

      If you’re arguing that women’s shelters, advocacy groups etc need more funding and support you’ll get no argument from me. And don’t get me started on No Recourse…

    43. leon — on 2nd July, 2007 at 11:10 pm  

      There is a very hazy line between forced marriages and ‘persuasion’ that involves constantly harassing them about not being married, emotional blackmail, constantly introducing them to preferred guys so they eventually give up, saying no to the girl’s preferred partners etc.

      Very well said.

    44. Katy Newton — on 2nd July, 2007 at 11:38 pm  

      There is a very hazy line between forced marriages and ‘persuasion’ that involves constantly harassing them about not being married, emotional blackmail, constantly introducing them to preferred guys so they eventually give up, saying no to the girl’s preferred partners etc.

      Look, I’m sorry but that cuts across all cultures to a greater or lesser extent and whilst it is undoubtedly manipulative it is not the same as coercion. Any situation in which an adult can walk away freely without being physically harmed is not coercion. If your parents don’t want to talk to you because you don’t like the man they want you to marry then both you and your parents have a tough choice to make. But it is a choice. I know plenty of non-Asian people who don’t speak to their parents because their parents don’t like their partners. And I repeat: when parents and children are all adults, the parents are entitled not to speak to or support their children if they don’t want to.

      There is such a thing as making a choice and taking responsibility for it. If you decide that it’s more important to stay onside with your parents than to marry your first choice, then that’s your choice. If you decide that actually you want to marry the man you want and you don’t care what your parents think, that is also your choice. And if your parents say “If you do that I’ll never speak to you again” that’s their choice.

      I am all for forced marriages being illegal but if you are suggesting that trying to introduce someone to a preferred guy should be criminalised, or that nagging your daughter about when she’s going to meet a nice Muslim/Jewish/Hindu/Sikh boy should be some sort of criminal offence… that’s nuts. Sorry.

    45. Katy Newton — on 2nd July, 2007 at 11:46 pm  

      The solution to that sort of manipulation can only change over time. When my mother was young the idea of marrying out of Judaism was pretty scandalous and there were relatives who wouldn’t invite her over. But now the vast majority of Jewish people accept marriages out even if some of the old guard aren’t happy with them. The dark days when if someone married out or got pregnant before marriage they could expect to find their parents sitting shivah for them have gone, not because governments rushed around legislating but because attitudes changed over time. That will happen here too, and if consciousnesses can be raised then it will happen faster - but you won’t change it by slapping people with fines or suspended sentences because they kept trying to get their daughter to meet local boys.

    46. Sunny — on 3rd July, 2007 at 12:45 am  

      DK, I really think you come here only to waste my time.

      You said, quite patronisingly and stupidly,

      Unfortunately, they live in Britain, where we tend to frown on abduction and slavery. So much so that we, y’know, made both things illegal.

      Kindly read this thread and STFU.
      http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/1030

      Katy:
      GB, I think my basic position on this topic generally is that there’s not much point in raising consciousness on the part of abused women if you don’t back that up by providing them with a safe, viable escape route and protection thereafter.

      That’s my position too. No one has argued against that. But both efforts are being made - raising consioucness with social services, added legislation and support to women’s groups.

      I am not saying that it is not a bigger problem for Asian women than for white women but to suggest that the only cause of Asian female depression is forced marriage cannot be right.

      Why can it not be right? Talking about depression is taboo across the board. And it cannot all be inherited can it?

      Look, I don’t care if they think it’s a good idea or not. It obviously isn’t.

      Well, that’s your opinion. I’m hoping the FMU had spoken to a few womens group about this too and consulted this idea around. Anyway, I think its worth trying. You don’t. I’m still not convinced by your argument.

      their “village mentality” mitigated against that (which, incidentally, is a little patronising of you to them, isn’t it?).

      Yup, I’m happy to accept I’m patronising towards people who decide to force their daughters into a marriage against her consent.

      Are you saying that if I were to say to my 18 year old child, “If you marry that man I’ll never talk to you again”, that the police should be called?

      No, I’m saying that because emotional/verbal pressure is very subtle, it is difficult to draw a line on where the police should step in. It doesn’t make the situation any easier of course.

      Thus the police and doctors should be made aware of circumstances or clues that give them further insight into a person’s life.

      I am all for forced marriages being illegal but if you are suggesting that trying to introduce someone to a preferred guy should be criminalised, or that nagging your daughter about when she’s going to meet a nice Muslim/Jewish/Hindu/Sikh boy should be some sort of criminal offence… that’s nuts

      Oh sheesh. When did I ever bring criminalising of all this into the equation? Are you reading some other blog?

      The only legislation I support is actually criminalising forced marriage as was suggested in the earlier bill. I’m happy to see if the civil remedies bill works, but even SBS know that they’ll have to wait and see.. and if it doesn’t then we move to full criminalisation. I’ve not suggested more legislation than that.

      Here we are only talking about educating the police and doctors to look out for vital clues. I’m quite exasperated by your insistence in conjuring up extreme scenarios and then saying I’ll be calling the police in at every opportunity.

    47. Katy Newton — on 3rd July, 2007 at 1:05 am  

      Oh sheesh. When did I ever bring criminalising of all this into the equation? Are you reading some other blog?

      No, Sunny, I’m reading yours.

      If persistent harassment and emotional blackmail by parents pushes a girl towards self-harm / suicide then yes I’d like to have the police involved.

      So if a child is being abused we expect social services to get involved regardless, because we assume they cannot help themselves. I’m not saying this applies across the board for Asian women, but I know of many who are simply incapable of standing up to the bullying of their parents, and they need outside support.

      I don’t believe a line can be drawn between mental / verbal coercion and non-coercion.

      I’m reading what you are saying and trying to work out what exactly you are saying should happen. You said the police should be called where someone is being placed under emotional blackmail by their parents. YOU said it. The reason I think that you’re going to be calling the police in at every turn is because YOU keep talking about calling them in. Forgive me for thinking that you were suggesting that emotional blackmail should be criminalised.

      And I am not conjuring up extreme circumstances. What I am trying to explain is that laws that aren’t clearly defined lead to stupid results. So, for example, you say that in a case where parental emotional pressure to get married is leading a child to self-harm or suicide, the police should be called in. Now, the culpability lies in the behaviour of the parents, doesn’t it? The emotional blackmail which leads a child to thoughts of suicide or self-harm? So what I tried to do was take your example of parental emotional pressure to get married, and apply it to other situations in which children feel emotional pressure that leads them to self-harm: for example, parents who put emotional pressure on their children to diet, or who put emotional pressure on their children to pass exams, as a result of which the children are pushed toward suicide or to self-harm. And I asked you whether you thought, in those circumstances, the police should be called.

      You see? I took the principle that you had identified, and I applied it to other situations, and asked you if you thought that was reasonable. And you correctly replied that it was bizarre, or outlandish, or ridiculous… but you blamed me. Well, it wasn’t my idea, Sunny, it was yours. I took your idea to its logical conclusion and we both agree that it doesn’t work. Now stop being so bloody rude to me.

    48. Galloise Blonde — on 3rd July, 2007 at 1:07 am  

      Let me breifly outline what the doctor’s responsibilities are according to these guidelines: Patient seems troubled, showing symptoms of depression, self-harm etc. Doctor tries to establish the family situation to see if there is a FM in question. If so, the doctor gives advice on the rights and recourses available to the patient. If the patient is unwilling or unable to take these up, the doctor asks permission to disclose the information and find an agency to protect her/him. If she/he says no, the doctor can only disclose if she/he is convinced there is a serious and immediate threat of rape, kidnapping or murder. Would it be wrong, for example, to contact the FMU if said patient was scared of going abroad and didn’t want to go because she/he was to be forced into marriage and then disappeared off the face of the earth?

      Heshu Yunes’ grades were dropping and she seemed miserable, concerning her teachers. If they had provided a sympathetic ear and discovered that she had suffered physical abuse from male family members, that she had a secret boyfriend, and that she was promised to her cousin, they could have understood her situation and taken action: possibly arranging for a risk assessment from police and then a shelter or foster home. Instead they called her mother and asked if Heshu was having problems in school because of trouble with her boyfriend. You know how Heshu’s story ends.

      This is the kind of confidentiality breach we worry about in reality.

      Katy: I completely take your point about manipulation and psychological pressure from a legal POV, but can you not see how that pressure feeds the high depression/suicide rate for Asian women?

      The FMU recieve 5000 calls per year, and take on 300 cases. But this isn’t just the tip of the iceberg; this is the tip of an iceberg on top of another iceberg, because the FMU is part of the Foreign Office and only deal with those individuals who have been taken abroad through force or deception and forced into marriage. They don’t deal with domestic FM: and the fact is, since FM is not a specific crime, no figures exist for its prevalence.

    49. Devil's Kitchen — on 3rd July, 2007 at 1:13 am  

      Sunny,

      DK, I really think you come here only to waste my time.

      I do. And I also love seeing you getting kicked and then watch you vacillating. It makes me laugh.

      You said, quite patronisingly and stupidly,

      Unfortunately, they live in Britain, where we tend to frown on abduction and slavery. So much so that we, y’know, made both things illegal.

      Kindly read this thread and STFU.

      Hmmm, how is that patronising? I may have put it badly, but what I meant is that in some countries, forced marriage seems to be acceptable (as, indeed, is slavery): however, in this country, the things that lead to a forced marriage have been criminally illegal for hundreds of years. Okey doke?

      As for time-wasting, well, so the forced marriages bit is a civil remedy. As Katy pointed out on that thread:

      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.

      And then, when you still didn’t get it…

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

      … which is more or less what I said.

      As for your last reply:

      Here we are only talking about educating the police and doctors to look out for vital clues.

      And my concern is that you see absolutely no problem with this, at all. Extraordinary.

      Anyway, I don’t have the time or the inclination to argue with someone who so obviously isn’t interested so I shall, indeed, shut the fuck up.

      DK

    50. Katy Newton — on 3rd July, 2007 at 1:26 am  

      Would it be wrong, for example, to contact the FMU if said patient was scared of going abroad and didn’t want to go because she/he was to be forced into marriage and then disappeared off the face of the earth?

      Yes. You and I both know that a woman who escapes this sort of situation the woman effectively lives in hiding and in fear for the rest of their lives. Where whole families are involved the imprisoning of a few family members is never the end of it. Domestic violence cases generally, both in and outside of the Asian community, are never really resolved in court, are they? And even women who are given the protection that the police can currently offer them are never really safe. When a woman in this sort of family defies the will of her family she puts herself in real danger and that danger is only marginally reduced by the imprisonment of the ringleaders in the family. It is a brave woman that does that and she deserves all the support that the state can give her - but it’s a lie to say that women in that situation can be guaranteed the protection and support that they need at the moment, because despite the best efforts of the police and groups like SBS they can’t. And I am sorry - but when the choice is between a forced marriage and the possibility of being the victim of other members of the family in revenge, it is NOT for anyone but the woman herself to decide whether she wants to take that risk.

      That is exactly what happened in the case of Heshu Yunes. At its heart, it isn’t even about confidentiality, although that is obviously part of it. It’s about the fact that her teachers didn’t have enough respect for her as a thinking human being to sit down and talk to her about what was wrong.

      And that is why I believe that the way to deal with this is not to deprive women of the security of knowing that they can trust their doctor not to put them in danger. I do believe that the best way to help women in these situations is to work towards proper resources being in place to help them if they decide to get out, and to give them the security of knowing that there is someone they can go to who will listen to them without forcing their hand until they are ready.

      I’m sorry, but the way to protect womens’ autonomy is not to take it away from them.

    51. Katy Newton — on 3rd July, 2007 at 1:30 am  

      And even women who are given the protection that the police can currently offer them are never really safe

      I mean, in the sense that absolute safety can never be guaranteed as long as we are in a world where everyone can travel freely and you never know where you might run into someone you know.

    52. Sunny — on 3rd July, 2007 at 1:44 am  

      DK: And I also love seeing you getting kicked and then watch you vacillating

      Kicked about by someone who neither understands the issue nor the legislation, comes here and starts making patronising comments about brown womens groups who don’t understand ‘our culture and our way of life’ without knowing what is being talked about?

      It would be best for both of us if you stopped deluding yourself so embarassingly.

      Katy:
      You said the police should be called where someone is being placed under emotional blackmail by their parents.

      I mention the police as an organisation that should be more willing to listen to concerns of women who come to them, and can gather evidence in cases better by being informed of the issues involved and circumstances the victims can be involved in. Involvement of police doesn’t always mean they should come knocking on people’s doors. Maybe I should have made this more clear. Plus, this also involves the CPS, which is now clearly waking up to the problem.

      What I am trying to explain is that laws that aren’t clearly defined lead to stupid results.

      I’m resigned to the fact that in such an area the law is never going to be easily defined because there are so many fuzzy boundaries where verbal/emotional coercion can lead to depression and/or suicide.

      Given the extent of the problem though, and given how many women it affects, I would rather though that some legal/social remedies were attempted to deal with the problem… and see how they work. If they don’t, fine, if they do, even better.

      As GB has pointed out, the cases referred to the FMU are the tip of the tip of an iceberg. I also believe it to be a huge underground problem.

      I took your idea to its logical conclusion and we both agree that it doesn’t work.

      But I never even advocated bringing in legislation on those issues. I merely said the police should be aware of such circumstances, not that there should be a law against parental verbal coercion. I’ve never talked on this thread about new laws.

      Now stop being so bloody rude to me.

      Sorry!

      I’m sorry, but the way to protect womens’ autonomy is not to take it away from them.

      That isn’t the aim here. But you nevertheless see it that way. I’m still with GB on this.

    53. Katy Newton — on 3rd July, 2007 at 1:57 am  

      Yeah!

      Well!

      Don’t do it again!

      :-D

    54. sonia — on 3rd July, 2007 at 10:28 am  

      yes well unfortunately this isn’t just a debating society
      who’s on who’s ‘sides’. this is about evaluating suggestions to address a very serious cause.

    55. sonia — on 3rd July, 2007 at 10:30 am  

      if people will forward suggestions, then they should be evaluated calmly and coolly without any hysterical ‘we need to do something so let’s do this’ sort of mentality -that is not going to help anyone apart from the politicians who want to look for ‘quick wins’ and short-term ‘actions’ so they can say look i did something about forced marriage.

    56. sonia — on 3rd July, 2007 at 10:36 am  

      no katy isn’t out on a limb. im not british, im asian im female, i haven’t ever been to access medical care for any mental troubles i have had, but i may well have done. and i don’t know - if doctors generally suspect suicide - they may well direct you to certain types of counselling. they may well offer you help - which should be there for everyone anyway - regardless of whether your parents are trying to force you into something or not. Obviously the State should provide care and access to social services. that however simply does not address the issue of making unrealistic demands on an already over-stretched NHS unless they’re going to show how they are putting more funding into it - and frankly if they’re going to throw money to address this issue into the gaping hole that is the NHS, personally i would suggest they give that money to shelters and people who are actively working in a targeted way to help vulnerable women etc. Thinking up more targets for already harassed GP might be a nice thing for a politician/policy theoretician to think up, but anyone who has any interest in practicalities will be able to see this.

      In any case, I have yet to see implementation level detail being discussed - this seems to me some more ‘waving our arms around shouting kind of thing’. Unless someone explains how they see doctors -who are already struggling - are going to be provided with more resources, or already have within their remit a requirement to direct suicidal patients to secondary care - i’m a bit confused really.

    57. sonia — on 3rd July, 2007 at 10:42 am  

      Plus also i feel everyone is shying away from how doctors can do anything apart from some sort of guidance/alleviation, and aren’t going to do jack about the CAUSES - the parents and the social control issue.

      until asian kids - yes that’s right -lets get down to the nitty gritty - learn to stand up to their parents, siblings friends who tell them they should only marry xy z then nothing much is going to change.

      people can talk about short-term actions if they so choose, it is not impossible to think of doing two things at the same time - one can at the very least, if one is going to say ‘limited funding!to state that long-term action is needed and at least think about that simultaneously.

    58. sonia — on 3rd July, 2007 at 10:47 am  

      and to re-iterate my point - yes it isn’t ‘wrong’ to expect any human - certainly any professional - to do what they should be doing anyway within the bounds of their duty.

      so in that sense, singling out ‘doctors’ doesn’t seem particularly fruitful in this discussion - unless we say everyone - peers, teachers etc. who thinks someone is troubled etc. or in danger of something like kidnap etc. ought to their moral duty in trying to get them to some specialised agency for help.

      it is quite another thing to try and lay ‘blame’ which we know inevitably will happen, and this thing about doctors seems to me to be a convenient grappling around for some sort of ‘solution’ and alighting on something that actually isn’t really going to make much different to anyone at the end of the day. so my worry is people will say well we asked the govt to do something, and the govt said ok lets ask the doctors, and that was the end of that.

      given the state of the NHS in this country, i find it amazing that anyone would seriously think this was some kind of solution, rather than a gesture.

    59. Katy Newton — on 3rd July, 2007 at 11:06 am  

      no katy isn’t out on a limb.

      Ha!

      im not british, im asian im female

      HA!

      Gizzahug, Sonia.

      Excellent point re resources, too.

    60. Galloise Blonde — on 3rd July, 2007 at 3:35 pm  

      so in that sense, singling out ‘doctors’ doesn’t seem particularly fruitful in this discussion - unless we say everyone - peers, teachers etc. who thinks someone is troubled etc. or in danger of something like kidnap etc. ought to their moral duty in trying to get them to some specialised agency for help.

      This is actually the case. These guidelines are just the last installment in a series that includes social workers, teachers and police.

      The guidelines again.

      The FMU and police are very discreet in their activities and start by trying to contact the individual. They know about the risks, and are mostly professional in managing them. You might say it is a loss of agency in the so-far hypothetical case where an individual is discreetly and privately, with first regard for her safety, contacted by professionals who are available to offer her help if she chooses to take it. I don’t see it that way: I think it is giving a person a last chance to make an informed choice before entering a situation which DK is correct to compare to slavery.

      I can’t write any more I am moving house today.

    61. squared — on 4th July, 2007 at 3:38 am  

      I love you, Katy Newton. :)

      I couldn’t have expressed my sentiments any more articulately than you have.

    62. Arif — on 5th July, 2007 at 8:23 pm  

      In my view, if doctors have genuine services they can refer women in depression to, then the complex and subtle issues involved could be dealt with by someone properly equipped to do so. A doctor prescribing prozac or talking therapies or both, should also be able to pass on a card or page of depression services, which - among the available services - should always include a women’s refuge and, if possible, an Asian women’s refuge.

      Doctors also need to know what to do if the patient volunteers the information of marriage pressure they are under, and the guidelines (post #48) seem reasonable, but crucially still depend on having agencies to refer the woman to (or even a man) which are able to keep a referral safe and committed to the empowerment of their clients so that they do not feel decisions are taken out of their control.

      How near is this to reality?

    63. Katy Newton — on 5th July, 2007 at 9:00 pm  

      Nush - I love you too. Gizzahug.

      Arif - good question. But I would be very much in favour of women being referred to agencies that can give them confidential assistance and support.

      I guess my main beef is that the government is happy to pour money into developing new laws and special prosecutors’ groups, all of which costs a surprisingly large amount of money which I feel would be better spent on beefing up the resources which women actually need to get out of these situations.

      The day after this was posted I noticed a NIB in the Times which said that Rape Crisis was having to close half of its centres due to cuts in government funding. It’s difficult to celebrate new rules from the government and new prosecutor’s groups, when the same government is cutting funds to the services that actually help women in abusive situations at the same time.

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