UK: Spot The Signs Of A Forced Marriage?
According to Pink News, this is an issue that affects LGBT people as well, although it is harder to identify them accurately, given that their status and sexuality is quite a taboo topic among cultures that force their offsprings to marry:
[O]nly ten of the 1,468 forced marriage cases the unit dealt with last year involved people who identified as LGBT, the problem is believed to be much bigger, with young people in affected communities less likely to be at ease with their sexuality due to strong taboos. Forced marriage is different from arranged marriage, which involves consent, and it affects a diverse range of groups, with those of Turkish, Ukrainian or Pakistani origin at particular risk. It is not a religious issue but stems from family tradition. 15 to 24 year olds are most at risk and in recent years there has been an increase in cases involving male victims. The FMU is concerned that men can be at greater risk because forced marriage is usually seem as an issue affecting only women. Some families believe that a gay or bisexual man, once married, will become straight.
Introducing the government’s new campaign, Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone said “Making it illegal is not enough on its own, so we are supporting work to protect victims. The Right to Choose campaign is another vital part of this and will help raise awareness of the damage being forced into marriage can do.”
Young LGBT people forced into marriage report being falsely imprisoned, beaten and even sexually assaulted by family members. When abroad, they often have their passports, money and mobile phones taken away. Sometimes the pressure is more subtle and shame or threats of estrangement are used to persuade them to submit, but the FMU is clear that any marriage contracted without full consent is unacceptable. Help is available for British citizens (and those with dual nationality) who wish to leave such marriages, both in the UK and abroad.
If you’re a British citizen, or hold a brit dual nationality, that is in danger of going through a forced marriage, or you know someone who is in danger, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s Forced Marriage Unite, in collaboration with The Home Office, has resources for you.
Telephone: +020 7008 0151
Email for outreach work: