Welcome to The Times in Plain English   Click to listen highlighted text! Welcome to The Times in Plain English

Forced Marriages Draw Attention in America

June 19, 2016
Plain English Version
Tahirih Justice Center

Tahirih Justice Center

Some societies observe the custom of arranged marriage. In those cultures, family matters more than one person’s choice. The weddings mean families joined by marriage will create a larger whole. They mean that young couples will benefit from similar backgrounds.

A forced marriage is different. It is less common and illegal in most countries. However, it is hard to define or prove. A daughter may be ordered to marry someone she may not know or like. It could be an older relative, a stranger or someone who is owed a debt.

Sometimes the girl does not even know it is happening. She may give in under pressure.

A recent study reported that there are as many as 1,500 suspected or confirmed cases of forced marriage in the U.S. a year. Forced marriage is found in many immigrant communities, especially among South Asians.

Some Asian-born parents seek to control and protect their Western-raised daughters, who yearn for a modern life-style. In these cultures, family duty and honor are important. Sometimes the families coerce the daughter. Or they use “emotional blackmail,” an expert said.

Most shelters and service agencies do not view such pressure as an abuse. They are not familiar with forced marriages. Local laws do not offer full protection, even if a girl is about to be flown abroad to marry against her will.

Advocates say that victims want a way to escape from intolerable, even if well-meaning, pressure to marry. There is no U.S. law against forced marriage. Many shelters and welfare agencies are unfamiliar with forced marriage. They are not able to help young women fleeing forced marriages.

Advocacy groups are forming to help young women. Women’s’ groups are trying to stop forced marriages. Groups are asking for a law similar to a new law in the United Kingdom that makes forced marriage a crime.

One expert said, “Many times, families are not interested in intervention. No one wants to talk about things like domestic violence or forced marriage. But talking about uncomfortable things is very much needed.”

Source: The Washington Post

Print Friendly

In Brief

Sitting, Standing, Moving: The Road to Health 

At some jobs, you stand all day. At some other jobs, you are sitting at a desk. Whether standing or sitting, eight hours of...

Protecting the Unborn and Newborn From Asthma

The number of people with asthma is growing. About 300 million people worldwide have it. About 26 million people in America have it. Only...

Too Many Antibiotics Can Make Children Heavier

Children who use a lot of antibiotics gain more weight than others. The weight they gain may stay with them into adulthood.

A study of...

Enemy of the Day: Sugar

The U.S. government is saying how much sugar we should consume. They suggest that only 10 percent of the average person’s calories should come...


  • dictionary
  • English Dictionary

Double click on any word on the page or type a word:

Powered by DictionaryBox.com
Click to listen highlighted text!