Disabled married off for entry into the UK


by Rumbold
28th July, 2008 at 11:57 am    

The Independent on Sunday has a story about how some families are forcibly marrying off their disabled children to people from the subcontinent, who are then able to live in the UK. Some families believe that because of their children’s disabilities, this is the only way to get them married off, and this mindset is exacerbated by the fact that South Asian families are less likely to seek help from disabled organisations:

“Mandy Sanghera, a social worker with Voice UK, a charity which helps people with learning disabilities, believes that the emphasis must be on protecting vulnerable individuals rather than on the communities which are failing them. “In 15 years I have worked with more than 100 people with learning disabilities forced into marriage, from south Asian, African and Middle Eastern communities. Forget the political correctness: these human rights abuses are very real and need to be stopped,” she said.

Ms Sanghera worked with Rani, a woman in her twenties with learning difficulties and mental health problems. Rani’s mother felt under pressure from the community to arrange for her to marry an Indian man who needed a British passport. Her mother decided this would be a good match, believing that no one else would marry her. After a year of marriage, Rani suffered a miscarriage and it was discovered that Rani’s husband was physically abusing her and stealing her benefits to send to his family. But her family pressured her to stay with him for the sake of honour.”

(Via the International Campaign Against Honour Killings)


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Filed in: 'Honour'-based violence,Current affairs






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  1. Disabled married off for entry into the UK « Same Difference

    [...] guest posts. trackback This is a guest post. It was originally posted yesterday by Rumbold on Pickled Politics.  Thanks to Rumbold and Sunny [...]




  1. MaidMarian — on 28th July, 2008 at 1:24 pm  

    If anything Rumbold you are being too kind here. To me, the really staggering part about the IoS article (and goodness it is a competitive field) was:

    ‘The Foreign Office’s Forced Marriage Unit dealt with 400 cases last year – and more than 80 of these involved people with learning disabilities.’

    That is a stunning % rate and as the article says probably is a significant understatement.

    Difficult to know what to do in reality, but it is stories like this that make me wonder just that little bit whether the, ‘something must be done,’ crowd are right.

  2. Ravi Naik — on 28th July, 2008 at 5:28 pm  

    Forget the political correctness: these human rights abuses are very real and need to be stopped

    Why is she saying “forget the political correctness”? Can anyone explain?

  3. Bert Rustle — on 28th July, 2008 at 10:19 pm  

    A partial cause of this situation is the hugely disproportionate number of sub-normal offspring from consanguine relationships. Regarding the UK, see BBC TV Newsnight … British Pakistanis are 13 times more likely to have children with genetic disorders than the general population – they account for just over 3% of all births but have just under a third of all British children with such illnesses.

    Indeed, Birmingham Primary Care Trust estimates that one in ten of all children born to first cousins in the city either dies in infancy or goes on to develop serious disability as a result of a recessive genetic disorder. [emphasis added]”

  4. Don — on 28th July, 2008 at 10:48 pm  

    Ravi,

    From the article And many care workers are reluctant to oppose the forced marriages for fear of being branded ‘culturally insensitive’.

  5. sarah — on 28th July, 2008 at 11:45 pm  

    Bert Rustle- ‘sub-normal offspring?’ Please rethink your phrasing next time you describe a minority group. As a young DisAbled female, I consider myself and everyone else with DisAbilities to be very normal indeed, thank you very much!

    Rumbold- thanks for posting this. I didn’t have the time to cover the story at Same Difference, but I am about to guest post this there now. I hope I have yours and Sunny’s permission.

  6. persephone — on 28th July, 2008 at 11:48 pm  

    Forget care workers needing to go on courses the girls family are the ones that need some training.

    In fact, where the vulnerable adult child is cared for/dependent upon their parents those parents should be held to account.

  7. mixtogether — on 29th July, 2008 at 12:05 am  

    political correctness around the whole field of forced marriage and hbv is like a sound proof window protecting the backwards elements among the asian community. We can say what we like but until that protection is removed they are not going to hear it.

    Good points about cousin marriage and the massive risk of genetic defects. Ann Cryer has raised this alongside doctors from her constituency, but she’s just shouting at a big glass window…

  8. douglas clark — on 29th July, 2008 at 2:26 am  

    sarah,

    No-one is attacking you. At least I hope not. But it is reasonable to point out, is it not, that disability which might be caused through close marriages is not a particularily good idea? The arguement, I think, is to stop it from being perpetrated.

    Is that wrong, or something?

    That being, I take it, the point of some of the comments up thread.

  9. sarah — on 29th July, 2008 at 3:43 am  

    That is fine, douglas clark. It was the description of disabled children as ‘sub-normal’ that I had a problem with.

  10. Bert Rustle — on 29th July, 2008 at 8:35 am  

    Sarah 5 wrote … Bert Rustle- ’sub-normal offspring?’ Please rethink your phrasing next time you describe a minority group. …

    From BBC TV Newsnight … Birmingham Primary Care Trust estimates that one in ten of all children born to first cousins in the city either dies in infancy or goes on to develop serious disability as a result of a recessive genetic disorder. [emphasis added]”

    Offspring from consanguine relationships have a sub-normal life expectancy and indeed are sub-normal on many other metrics as well.

    Which other terms correctly describe this observation by BBC TV Newsnight , in your opinion? Would “above average” mortality rate be objectionable to you? If so, why? If not, why not?

  11. Rumbold — on 29th July, 2008 at 9:10 am  

    Sarah:

    By all means reprint it.

  12. Dhara — on 29th July, 2008 at 10:54 am  

    persephone – i completely agree that the parents need training and advice too. A care manager I know who works in an area with a very small non-white population was telling me the other day about the one non white person in the home she works at, an asian young female who never ever has visits from family (or friends). No visits even though they live in the area, compared to every other person in that home who does have visitors who will come to see them, take them out for the day, just generally hang out and give them company that is different to the care staff who do a great job but who they do see every day.

    how utterly depressing it all is. and how much longer can it be blamed on cultural differences? as the generations of asians born in the UK grow up and have their own children will these patterns of ignorance and shame about disabled children and family members change? I’m not pessimistic by nature, and I sincerely hope that attitudes will change, but on some levels I do fear that they won’t.

  13. sarah — on 29th July, 2008 at 11:00 am  

    Thank you very much for your reply, Bert Rustle. I am very sorry for my comments to you. I didn’t realise that you got that phrase from somewhere else. It wasn’t italic or bold the first time.

    Look out for a post on Same Difference, screaming at Newsnight for this!

  14. Bert Rustle — on 29th July, 2008 at 11:19 am  

    Sarah 14 wrote … I am very sorry for my comments to you. I didn’t realise that you got that phrase from somewhere else. … I see no reason for you to be sorry. I should point out that though the data came from BBC TV Newsnight , the summary description … disproportionate number of sub-normal offspring from consanguine relationships … came from me.

    I hope you will be able to find time to reply to the questions I asked in comment 11, above.

  15. sarah — on 29th July, 2008 at 11:41 am  

    If that came from you, Bert Rustle, then what I said in comment 5 still applies.

    To answer your question, I would not find it hurtful if you had said that children born from cousin marriages have an above average mortality rate. The description of these children as ‘sub-normal’ suggests that you don’t think they are completely human. I hope you can see the difference.

  16. Bert Rustle — on 29th July, 2008 at 12:39 pm  

    sarah 16 wrote … The description of these children as ’sub-normal’ suggests that you don’t think they are completely human. … I wrote sub-normal to explicitly indicate a quantity which is less than normal. I did not write subnormal, which could conceivably be found objectionable. To be explicit, I do not suggest that human offspring is not human.

    Is “below average longevity” objectionable? Is “sub-normal red blood cell count” objectionable? I ask as I wish to ascertain whether it is the highlighting of difference which is objectionable, an implicit ranking of it, my omission of an explicit metric such as IQ or perhaps something else.

    How would you present this empirical data so as to inform an educated layman of the facts without being objectionable?

  17. sarah — on 29th July, 2008 at 11:28 pm  

    I just don’t like the word. Try ‘below average’ for things like blood cells or even, surprise, surprise,- ‘physically disabled’ for people.

  18. Bert Rustle — on 30th July, 2008 at 6:44 am  

    sarah 18 I will endeavour to choose my words more carefully in future, within the constraint of presenting the facts correctly.

  19. sarah — on 30th July, 2008 at 10:02 am  

    Thank you. That’s all I ask.

  20. Golam Murtaza — on 30th July, 2008 at 12:08 pm  

    In reply to mixtogether, Ann Cryer is my constituency MP. I’ve met her a number of times and she’s a thoroughly decent sort. It is true, her warnings against first cousin marriages have met with some pretty daft responses. I’m talking about the “I’m the outcome of a first cousin marriage and there’s nothing wrong with me”, kind of reaction, completely ignoring the fact that she’s talking about the overall statistical picture, not EVERY SINGLE child of first cousin parents.

    Incidentally, my own mum is the daughter of first cousin parents and the fact that she has turned out fine doesn’t alter my view that the practice is physically unhealthy, unnecessary and should be stopped.

    Cheers..

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