Forced Marriages

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Forced Marriages

You've arrived at the airport with your parents, you plane is ready to depart but you have no idea what is going on. You have now arrived in Pakistan and have been whisked off to your village to take part in your own wedding ceremony with a 45 year old man you have never met before. This is the start of a brand new life as an unwillingly married 15 year old girl.

Although this practice may seem like an old fashioned tradition, forced marriages are still going on within European societies. A forced marriage happens when one or both participants are pressurised into a marriage without their free consent. They can be made because of family honour or the wishes of the parents. Young people especially, with 85% being girls, are being forced to marry someone their family has chosen for them, giving hem no say in the practice. They usually happen amongst different ethnic, cultural and religious groups. I believe that forced marriages are morally, ethically and religiously wrong for many reasons.

Firstly, a marriage should be a union of two individuals who love each other and are willing to spend the rest of their lives together. However, forced marriages violate a persons basic rights. Victims suffer in silence and often experience imprisonment, sexual abuse, physical and mental abuse and in the very worst cases murder.

They are usually referred to as honour killings, which are murders by the families of victims who are thought to have brought shame upon the family. This shame could be because the victim has committed an act that is highly frowned upon within their culture. One of the most horrific honour killings was because of a forced marriage. In 2003 Shafilea Ahmed was brutally suffocated to death and thrown into a river by her own parents. These were the people she should have been able to turn to in times of need. All of this happened because she stood up for her rights and did not accept to marry a stranger.

Secondly, it is often

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