Claire Armstrong, “Pupils missing after school holidays shows big increase in district,” The Telegraph and Argus (January 6, 2014). New data show that the number of children who go missing after school holidays is on the rise in the Bradford District of the UK. This article discusses how failing to return to school as expected after summer break can be a strong indicator of forced marriage and the author profiles survivor advocate Jasvinder Sanghera’s work to promote awareness of these statistics and how best to utilize them to protect potential victims. Read here.
Amrit Wilson, “Criminalising forced marriage in the UK: why it will not help women,” openDemocracy (January 13, 2014). This article presents an argument against the criminalisation of forced marriage in Scotland, which is viewed as one of the most strongly contested pieces of gender based legislation to go through Parliament in recent years. The author cites critiques of the legislation offered by several advocacy organizations working to prevent violence against women and promote ethnic and gender equality in the UK. Read here.
Anna Davis, “Londoners are ‘morally ambiguous’ about forced marriage, experts warn,” London Evening Standard (January 16, 2014). This article profiles a research study and report commissioned by Naana Otoo-Oyortey, executive director of the charity FORWARD in London. The report found that Londoners are uncertain when it comes to the issue of forced marriage, with some supporting the reasoning behind the act as being in a child’s best interest. Ms. Otoo-Oyortey argues that the report calls for more awareness to be raised on the harms of forced marriage and the absolute nature of human rights.Read here.
Tehmina Kazi, “Let’s criminalise forced marriage: secular and Islamic perspectives,” openDemocracy (January 20, 2014). In this article, Tahmina Kazi presents a response to Amrit Wilson’s article which argued against the criminalisation of forced marriage in Scotland. The author cites research conducted by Karma Nirvana which supports criminalising forced marriage as well as promising statistics from other countries where forced marriage has already been criminalised. Read here.
“Government proposes forced marriage bill,”Sverige Radio (January 20, 2014). Swedish Justice Minister Beatrice Ask has proposed a new law to criminalize forced marriage that could come into effect this summer. The new law would make it illegal for parents and other relatives to force a young person to marry and would also make it punishable to aid or encourage forced marriages with a maximum sentence of four years. Read here.
Alyana Alfaro, “Till death do us part: The forgotten US victims of forced marriage,” Al Jazeera America (January 21, 2014). This article is the first in a four part series published by Al Jazeera America on the topic of forced marriage in the US. In this article Vidya Sri, founder of Gangashakti, is interviewed about her experience and the author outlines the scope, nature, and current response to forced marriage in the US. Read here.
Sadhbh Walshetical, “How a bride forced to marry became ‘unchained at last’,” Al Jazeera America (January 22, 2014). This article is the second in a four part series published by Al Jazeera America on the topic of forced marriage in the US. In this article Fraidy Reiss, founder of Unchained at Last, is interviewed about her experience and how forced marriage manifests in the Orthodox Jewish community. The article also discusses the challenges that survivors face when reaching out for help and their difficulties navigating the complex US legal system. Read here.
“Controversial Forced Marriage LCM Passed,” BBC (January 22, 2014). Last week members of the Scottish Parliament passed a new law that allows the UK Parliament to make forced marriage a criminal offense in Scotland, with a possible sentence of up to seven years in jail. Supporters of the motion say that it keeps Scotland in step with the rest of the UK and compliant with Article 37 of the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention. Read here.
Aida Alami, “A Loophole for Rapists is Eliminated in Morocco,” The New York Times (January 23, 2014). On Wednesday, January 23rd the Moroccan Parliament voted unanimously to amend a law that allows a man convicted of statutory rape to escape punishment if he marries his under-age victim. This article discusses the new amendment as well as advocates’ reactions to the change and their hopes that it will spark further developments in the fight to end violence against women in Morocco. Read here.
Christine Hauser, “Yemen Takes a Step toward Law Ending Child Marriage,” The New York Times (January 23, 2014). This article discusses a national conference of Yemeni political, social and religious groups that recently issued several proposals for the new constitution, including proposals for gender equality and women’s rights. The proposal making it illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to marry fell under the subheading of “Child Marriage” and specified that there would be punishments for anyone ignoring the requirement for girls. Read here.
Alyana Alfaro, “Forced marriage victims coerced into hard-to-detect immigration fraud,” Al Jazeera America (January 23, 2014). This article is the third in a four part series published by Al Jazeera America on the topic of forced marriage in the US. This article discusses cases of forced marriage which take place overseas and the consequences for victims when they are coerced into commiting marriage or immigration fraud. In this article Sujata Warrier, director of the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, and attorney Bandita Sharma discuss cases they have seen and resources available to survivors. Read here.
Alyana Alfaro, “Meet the cops who save women from forced marriage,” Al Jazeera America (January 24, 2014). This is the final article from the four part series published by Al Jazeera America on the topic of forced marriage in the US. In this article the author profiles Arizona Detectives Chris Boughey and Jeff Balson who, after investigating an honor killing in Peoria, now devote their time to providing assistance to victims and raising awareness about the issue of forced marriage. The two have also been appointed law-enforcement liaisons by the AHA Foundation. Read here.
“Forum Meets in Newport Over Forced Marriage Bill,” South Wales Argus (January 30, 2014). Organizations from across South Wales gathered in Newport on January 29th to discuss changes in the law surrounding the criminalization of forced marriage. Under current law, forced marriage in England and Wales is not a specific criminal offence, however, the Government has introduced a bill which will criminalize forced marriage as well as breaches of a Forced Marriage Protection Order. Read here.
“Shedding Light on Forced Marriage in America,” On Point with Tom Ashbrook (February 3, 2014). In this radio interview, Tom Ashbrook speaks with Fraidy Reiss founder of Unchained at Last, Vidya Sri founder of Gangashakti and journalist Alyana Alfaro about the issue of forced marriage in the United States and the ongoing debate regarding how to effecitvely prevent and address forced marriage in America. Read more and listen here.
Kaye Quek, “A new law which explicitly categorizes forced marriage as a crime represents a crucial milestone in efforts to protect women’s human rights,” The London School of Economics and Political Science (February 5, 2014). In this article Kaye Quek, a lecturer at the University of Melbourne, presents her argument in favor of legislation that criminalizes forced forced marriage. Read here.
“’Failings of Police’ in Reporting Honor Violence,” BBC News (February 6, 2014). In this article Diana Nammi, executive director of Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation, is interviewed about the new report Postcode Lottery: Police Recording of Reported ‘Honour’ Based Violence which found that UK police are regularly failing to report cases of violence against women, including forced marriage and honor-killings. Read here.
“Forced Marriage Fear of Preston Girl Flown to Pakistan,” BBC News (February 7, 2014). This article discusses the case of sisters Alyssa, Safia, and Amani Din who have been missing from their home in the UK since flying to Karachi, Pakistan in October of 2013. A relative of the family reported the case and raised concerns that Alyssa had been forced to marry on her 16th birthday. Both parents have been given jail sentences for failing to provide details related to their children’s whereabouts. Read here.
Erdem Koc, “Focus on Child Marriage in Australia,” SBS (February 12, 2014). This article discusses the arrest of a 26yr old man charged with multiple counts of having sex with a child after marrying a 13yr old female in Sydney, Australia. The imam who performed the ceremony is also facing charges. In the article, Australian officials state they believe the practice of forced marriage may be more common than previously recognized. Read here.
Padraic Murphy, “Shame of our child brides: Court hears how woman was raped and beaten as it’s revealed hundreds are forced into arranged and unregistered marriages across NSW,” Herald Sun (February 12, 2014). This article discusses the case of an Australian woman, now 25, who was forced to marry at the age of 14. After hearing her case, the Federal Circuit Court Judge appealed to authorities to investigate, however, as of February 12th no action had been taken. Read here.
“Teen Faces Deportation and Forced Marriage,” The Local Sweden (February 13, 2014). This article discusses the case of a 16yr old and her mother whose plea for a residency permit was rejected by the Migration Court of Appeals in Sweden. The girl faces FGM and a forced marriage to a much older man should she return to Pakistan and her classmates have started a social media campaign with a hashtag #låtkainatstanna (let Kainat stay) on her behalf. Read here.
Emma Partridge, “Pru Goward Child Brides Claim a Surprise to NSW Police,” The Sydney Herald (February 15, 2014). This article presents the case of a 12yr old girl who was forced to marry a 26yr old Lebanese student in Australia. Pru Goward, the Minister for Family and Community Services, stated that cases of forced marriage were an ongoing issue for communities in Sydney, however, child abuse detectives deny any previous knowledge of such cases. Read here.
Tim Alamenciak, “Lev Tahor search warrant documents allege abuse, underage marriage, imprisonment,” The Toronto Star (February 15, 2014). Documents uncovered at the homes of individuals who are members of the ultra-orthodox Jewish sect Lev Tahor in Quebec detail allegations of underage marriage and other forms of abuse and neglect. Nachman Helbrans, the son of sect leader Rabbi Shlomo Helbrans, denies the allegations and an appeal by the group was scheduled to be filed on February 25th. Read here.
Emma Partridge, “Child told to wed by uncle: ‘You must do the marriage,’” The Sydney Morning Herald (February 16, 2014). This article discusses the case of a 16yr old Bangladeshi girl brought to Australia by her uncle in 2011. When she arrived in Sydney she was cut her off from all forms of communication as her uncle attempted to force her into a marriage with her 36yr old cousin. Read here.
Michaelia Cash, “The horrifying practice that’s happening everyday in Australian suburbs,” Mamamia (February 20, 2014). In this article Michaelia Cash, Senator for Western Australia and the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women, discusses the issue of forced marriage in Australia and how the government and community should respond. Read here.
Heather Wood Rudulph “My Sister Set Herself on Fire,” Cosmopolitan (February 24, 2014). In this issue of Cosmopolitan, Jasvinder Sanghera discusses the impact of the physical and psychological abuse she and his sisters faced as children growing up in the UK as well as her experience as a forced marriage survivor. Read here.
“Forced Marriages: Girls Sent to Kashmir as Brides,” Kashmir Observer (February 26, 2014). This article discusses the announcement by the UK’s Forced Marriage Unit that they handled 1,485 cases of possible forced marriages in 2012 and with over 47% of those cases involved Pakistan. The Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) reported that hundreds of cases of forced marriage involving British nationals married against their will in Kashmir are thought to take place annually. Read here.
“’I hate this monster, I mean nothing to him’ forced marriages in Britain,” MSN News (February 27, 2014). This article presents the latest figures from the UK’s Forced Marriage Unit which indicate that they dealt with 1,302 cases of men and women being pressured by relatives to wed in 2013. Although the total number of cases seems to have decreased from the 1,485 cases handled in 2012, there are fears that there may have been an increase in unreported cases in 2013. Read here.
Norman Baker and Mark Simmonds, “Britain Continues to Be a Global Leader in Tackling Abhorrent and Heinous Forced Marriages,” The Huffington Post (February 27, 2014). This article discusses the latest statistics from the UK’s Forced Marriage Unit. The authors provide an in-depth analysis of the numbers and how this data can be used to formulate an effective response to forced marriage moving forward. Read here.
Robert T. Muller, “I Deserve a Voice: A Story of Forced Marriage,” Psychology Today (February 28, 2014). This article details the experience of a forced marriage survivor in Ontario, Canada. Read here.
Emma Partridge, “Hotline plan to help hidden child brides in Sydney,” The Age New South Wales (March 3, 3014). In this article, Dr. Eman Sharobeem speaks of her experience working with young victims of forced marriage at the Immigrant Women’s Health Centre in Fairfield, Australia and appeals for the creation of a bilingual hotline in Australia that young girls facing forced marriage can call for help or to report abuse. Read here.
“Forced marriage investigations rise in East Anglia” BBC News (March 4, 2014). This story highlights the increase in forced marriage cases in the East Anglia region of the UK and profiles the case of a woman who went into hiding after learning of her own potential forced marriage. Read here.
Widyan Al-Ubudy, “Call for Education about Forced Marriage Law,” SBS (March 8, 2014). In this article, Dr. Eman Sharobee, director of the Immigrant Women’s Health Service in Sydney, along with other advocates in Australia, argue that in order to end the practice of forced marriage, education must be implemented at the grassroots level to raise awareness about the forced marriage law. Read here.
“14 Million Screams- A disturbing short film on forced marriages,” The Circular (March 9, 2014). French director Lisa Azuelos has created a four minute short film titled “14 Million Screams” as an appeal to help young victims of forced marriages. Read here.
Poorna Bell, “How Jasvinder Sanghera, Founder of Karma Nirvana, Has Saved Thousands of Women,” Huffington Post UK (March 10, 2014). Forced marriage survivor Jasvinder Sanghera speaks about her experience as a survivor and the creation of her organization Karma Nirvana that now protects hundreds of women and girls annually. Read here.
“End to early and forced marriage needed to achieve gender equality – Hilary Clinton, International Women’s Day 2014,” Girls Not Brides (March 12, 2014). In a speech addressing the United Nations on International Women’s Day, Hilary Clinton urged that the practices of child and forced marriages must be ended in order to achieve equality for women and girls. Read here.
“How many forced marriages in Finland annually?” YLE (March 17, 2014). In this article Nasima Razmyar, Chair of Multicultural Women’s Association Monika, is interviewed about the prevalence of forced marriage in Finland. Citing statistics from the UK, Razmyar believes that their are many hidden victims in Finland, particularly given the number of immigrant women and girls who seek protection at women’s shelters annually. Read here.
Tanya Barron, “Criminalizing Forced Marriage is a Start, Not an End,” The Huffington Post (March 19, 2014). This article discusses the challenges of ending the practice of forced marriage in the UK. Tanya Barron, Chief Executive of Plan UK, argues that in order to end forced marriage altogether it will take more than legislation. She sites global initiatives, such as Plan UK’s program in Bangladesh, which emphasize education on rights as well as the dangers and health complications associated with early and forced marriage, as the key to fostering later, consensual marriage. Read here.
Sarah Morrison, “Record numbers contact helpline for forced marriage and honor-based abuse,” The Independent (March 23, 2014). The forced marriage helpline run by NGO Karma Nirvana in the UK received almost double the number of monthly calls it had last year. Capacity is now so stretched that Jasvinder Sanghera, Karma Nirvana’s founder, has warned that it may have to cut the line to only four days a week. Read here.
Tyne Tees, “Forced marriage and honor violence worse than people think,” ITV (March 27, 2014). This video series from ITV in the UK focuses on the issue of forced marriage and the importance of raising awareness and building relationships in communities as well as among service providers and law enforcement. Watch here.
Sarah Dale, “Middlesbrough project’s new campaign to help victims of forced marriage and honor violence,” Gazette Live (March 31, 2014). This article profiles The Halo Project in the UK which helps victims of forced marriage. The author highlights a new campaign called Time For Changewhich aims to raise awareness and encourage victims to come forward. Read here.
“#Dishonor Diaries questions filmmakers’ motivations,” Al Jazeera (April 2, 2014). This article explores reactions to the film Honor Diaries which has sparked international controversy as activists question the portrayal of Muslim women in the film as well as the motives of the Clarion Project, the group which produced the film. Read here.
Christina Michaels, “Doing nothing is not an option,” The Justice Gap (April 4, 2014). In this story Aneeta Prem, founder of the Justice Foundation, discusses the issue of forced marriage in the UK, defends the criminalization of the act, and outlines what steps need to be taken to combat the issue moving forward. Watch here.
Naomi Canton, “Forced marriages in the UK well above 100,000 – Jasvinder Sanghera,” Asia House (April 4, 2014). In this article Jasvinder Sanghera, forced marriage survivor and founder of Karma Nirvana, discusses the current scope of forced marriage and the effectiveness of the Forced Marriage Protection Order in the UK. Jasvinder also shares her analysis of how previous high profile forced marriage cases were handled as well as a brief summary of her own experience as a survivor. Read here.
Steven Dalton “Honour Film Review,” The Hollywood Reporter (April 4, 2014). Honour is a British movie that was released on April 4th in the UK. In the film the actress Aiysha Hart plays Mona, a young British Muslim girl on the run from her family after they uncover her plans to run away with her Punjabi boyfriend. The film portrays Mona’s attempt to escape her family and the lengths they are willing to go in order to find her. Click here to read the review and watch the trailer.
Patrick Howse, “Derby College tackles forced marriage,” BBC (April 7, 2014). At Derby College in the UK students and administrators are working with the charity Karma Nirvana to train personal coaches and “safeguarding officers” to recognize and deal with the issue of forced marriage on campus. Read here.
Damien McElroy, “Iraq ready to legalize childhood marriage,” The Telegraph UK (April 10, 2014). This article discusses proposed legislation in Iraq which presents a major set back for women’s rights in that country. The proposed legislation would allow girls as young a nine to be married and contains a clause that states women must comply with their husband’s sexual demands. The proposed legislation has triggered severe backlash from US and local human rights organizations. Read here.
Geetanjali Gangoli, “Forced marriage and immigration policies: understanding diversity or punishing difference?,” University of Oxford (April 15, 2014). Geetanjali Gangoli of the Center on Migration, Policy, and Society at the University of Oxford, delivered a speech on the practice of forced marriage and its effect on immigration policies. In her talk, Geetanjali discussed how immigration policies in the UK treat the issue of forced marriage, including attempts to increase the minimum age of entry on marriage visas. Listen here.
“Filmmaker exposes flaws of forced marriages,” DAWN (April 17, 2014). This article discusses a short documentary created by Samar Minallah that focuses on individuals who managed to escape forced marriages in Pakistan and Norway. The film illustrates the complex motivations behind forced marriages and the impact the practice has on both women and men. Read here.
Martin Naylor, “Derby to host first national conference on forced marriage.” Derby Telegraph (May 1, 2014). This article discusses the first national conference on forced marriage which was held on May 6th in the UK. The Police and Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire, in partnership with Karma Nirvana, hosted the conference, which was planned in preparation for the upcoming legislation change in the UK that will make forced marriage a criminal offense. The aim of the conference was to provide an overview of the legislative change, as well as equip law enforcement and key personnel with the tools to fully implement it. Read here
Rod Nordland, “In Spite of the Law, Afghan ‘Honor Killings’ of Women Continue,” The New York Times (May 3, 2014). This article discusses the case of Zakia and Mohammad Ali, who eloped in Afghanistan last month against the wishes of Zakia’s family. In Afghanistan, both Western and Islamic legal systems protect the rights of women to not be forced into marriage, but Afghan women continue to face forced marriages if they refuse to comply with the wishes of their families. The article notes that a significant portion of the problem lies with judges, as they are commonly uneducated in the law: in fact, a majority do not have law degrees, and many have never finished high school. Read here.
“13-year-old girl forced into marriage seeks NGO help,” The Times of India (May 4, 2014). This article discuses the case of a 13 year old girl in India who recieved help from a local NGO after she was forced to marry a 33 year old relative. Read here.
Adam Nossiter, “Nigerian Islamist Leader Threatens to Sell Kidnapped Girls,” The New York Times (May 5, 2014). This article discusses a video message, apparently made by the leader of the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram, in which threats are made to sell the girls, some as young as 6 years old, into marriage. The article also outlines the international response to the abduction as well as the actions taken by the Nigerian government thus far. Read here.
Annabel Symington, “Pakistani Girl Forced to Marry as Compensation for Uncle’s Crime,” The Wall Street Journal (May 5, 2014). This article discusses the case of an eleven year old Pakistani girl who was forced to marry a man three times her age as compensation for a crime her uncle had committed. Although illegal in Pakistan, the practice of “swara” – forcing women into marriage as punishment for family crimes—remains a way of resolving conflict in certain highly conservative parts of the country. The article also notes the work of Samar Minallah Khan, a local women’s rights activist who has been campaigning against the practice for more than a decade. Read here.
Jonathan Brown, “Forced marriage a problem for all religious minority communities in Britain,” The Independent (May 6, 2014). This article discusses a statement made by the head of the National Commission on Forced Marriage in Britain that emphasized forced marriage is not only an issue for the Muslim community, but for all minority groups, including Sikhs, Hindus, Orthodox Jews, and any group that is concerned about members marrying outside their own community. The article also draws attention to the diversity of callers who reached out to the Forced Marriage Unit helpline last year and the petition currently taking off in Britain to mark Shafilea Ahmed’s birthday (July 14th) as a national memorial day marking the deaths of the victims of honour violence. Read here.
Mohammed Lere, “Chibok Schoolgirls: Muslim cleric says forced marriage is anti-Islam,” The Premium Times (May 8, 2014). In Nigeria, an Onitsha-based Muslim cleric, Hanafi Anasalatu, made a formal statement that forced marriage was not part of Islam or the teaching of the Prophet Muhammad. His statement was made in reaction to the abduction of school girls in Chibok, Borno, by members of Boko Haram on April 14. Read here.
“French family kidnaps lesbian daughter fleeing arranged marriage,” Radio France Internationale (May 8, 2014). This article discusses the case of a young gay woman who was kidnapped by her family after having fled to the Southwest of France to avoid an arranged marriage. The woman was recovered after her partner reported the kidnapping to police and three of her family members have been charged in the case. Read here.
Malavika Vyawahare, “Indian Court Says Forced Marital Sex Is Not Rape,” The New York Times (May 12, 2014). A Delhi court has ruled that sex between a husband and wife, “even if forcible, is not rape.” The judge’s decision upheld section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, which does not recognize sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife as rape. The judgement came after a Delhi woman filed a complaint against a man she accused of drugging her, abducting her and taking her to Uttar Pradesh to register their marriage. Afterward, she told the court, he raped her. This ruling has sparked widespread protests and a call for improved legal protections for women in India. Read here.
“Father arranged marriage for daughter, 12, to avoid ‘sinful life’, court told,” The Guardian (May 21, 2014). This article discusses the case of a 61 year old man who is facing multiple charges after arranging a marriage for his 12 year old daughter in New South Wales, Australia. Police allege the young girl’s father facilitated the sexual assault of his daughter by actively arranging an “unlawful marriage”. Read here.
Jessica Cree, “East Lancashire forced marriage victims urged to seek help,” Lancashire Telegraph (May 22, 2014). The article discusses a campaign set up by Karma Nirvana to highlight changes in the law that will soon make forced marriage illegal in the UK and encourage victims in East Lancashire to come forward. Read here.
“Major campaign launched about forced marriages,” Todmorden News (May 27, 2014). This article discusses a new campaign that was launched in West Yorkshire, England to raise awareness of forced marriage. Local police and partner agencies highlighted the fact that forced marriage will officially become a crime in the UK as of June 2014, and they pledged to take a ‘victim lead approach’ to the issue. Read here.
“Pregnant Pakistani woman stoned to death by family,” The Guardian (May 28, 2014). This article discusses the story of Farzana Parveen, who was beaten to death by her family outside of a Pakistani high court in Lahore. The family was apparently motivated by the fact that Farzana had married a man without their consent. Read here.
Farhana Qazi, “America’s Honor Killings A Growing Reality,” The Islamic Monthly (June 30, 2014). This article examines the underrated issue of “honor-based” violence and “honor” killings in the United States. Farhana Qazi, a lecturer and writer on conflicts in the Muslim world, discusses the concept of honor, the misunderstood role of women in Islam, and what can be done to prevent this abuse. Read here.
Engy Abdelkader, “Forced or Choice? American Muslim Marriages,” Huffington Post (July 1, 2014). In this piece, Abdelkader discusses the issue of forced marriage in an American Muslim context. Abdelkader notes that forced marriages are not representative of all Muslims in the US. Abdelkader is the co-director of the Immigration Intervention Project of Sanctuary for Families. Read here.
Simon Hooper, “Could UK ban on forced marriage backfire?” Al Jazeera (July 1, 2014). In this article, advocates to end forced marriage question whether the recent criminalization in the UK might hinder progress already made to help victims. Among the possible consequences of the law, they suggest, is driving forced marriage further underground and deterring victims from seeking help. Read here.
Vanessa Watson, “El-Bacha: ‘Coming out’ of arranged marriage,” The Sun (July 2, 2014). This article tells the story of Michael Bacha, who was forced to leave his Australian home at 19 to be forced into marriage to his cousin in Lebanon. Bacha left the marriage a few years later after coming out to his conservative Christian Lebanese family. Bacha has recently published a book chronicling his experiences in a forced marriage. Read here.
“Forced marriage prevails as laws fall short,” Finland Times (July 3, 2014). In this article, Monika, the Multicultural Women’s Association in Finland, speaks out on the lack of laws protecting victims of forced marriage and suggests that forced marriage should be criminalized. Other authorities in Finland, like Justice Minister Anna-Maja Henriksson, believe that there may be better alternatives to criminalization. Read here.
Gemma Davidson, “Charity urges caution over new forced marriage law,” The Reading Post (July 3, 2014). In this article, Rani Bilkhu, founder of UK based non-profit Jeena International, cautions that along with criminalization of forced marriage in the UK, emphasis needs to be placed on education and outreach. Bilkhu believes that the law was a step in the right direction and believes that much more needs to be done. Read here.
Nate Raymond, “Brooklyn cabbie convicted of plotting Pakistan ‘honor killings’,” Reuters (July 3, 2014). This article discusses the case of forced marriage survivor Amina Ajmal, whose father was recently convicted for plotting honor killings in Pakistan. These killings were meant to harm family members of a relative who reportedly help Amina Ajmal escape a forced marriage and return to the US. Read here.
Neelam Farooq, “Assisting forced marriage victims: the overseas perspective,” UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office,” (July 4, 2014). Neelam Farooq, the Senior Consular Officer at the British High Commission in Islamabad, reflects on the issue of forced marriage in the UK in relation to a recent case assisting a British national in a forced marriage situation. Through this case story, Farooq illustrates the resourcefulness of the Forced Marriage Unit and other policies developed by the UK to help victims. Read here.
Fiona Cowood, “Forced Marriage Awareness: The secret horror of summer holidays for hundreds of girls,” Cosmopolitan UK (July 8, 2014). This article focuses on the Shafilea Ahmed case and reviews warning signs for those who may be at risk. Read here.
Sally Lee, “Crackdown on child brides: Australian schools to trial program teaching students and staff how to spot child forced marriages,” Daily Mail UK (July 13, 2014). A trial program will educate teachers and students in Australian schools about child and forced marriages. Three Australian schools are set to test run the program before the national implementation in 2015. Read here.
Chico Harlan, “Bride school: Where South Korea’s mail-order wives learn their trade,” The Washington Post (July 14, 2014).This article discusses the booming “mail-order bride” business in South Korea, in which women from Vietnam are sent to South Korea to get married. Because of the rapid influx of Vietnamese women coming into Korea, the South Korean government has attempted to regulate this practice by funding “bride schools” in Vietnam. Read here.
Mandy Van Deven, “Meet the Child Brides of Pakistan,”Refinery 29 (July 16, 2014). In this article, Mandy Van Deven discusses the issue of child marriage in Pakistan, where one in three girls is married before her 18th birthday. Van Deven examines significant contributing factors to child marriage in Pakistan, such as widespread poverty and a long lasting history of gender inequality. Read here.
Rod Nordland, “Struggling to Keep Afghan Girl Safe After a Mullah Is Accused of Rape,” The New York Times (July 19, 2014). A young 10-year-old girl was raped by a mullah in Afghanistan and now faces the threat of a forced marriage to her rapist and further “honor-based” violence from her family. The article also highlights the challenges women’s rights advocates face, in that advocates and shelter workers who tried to help the girl have been subjected to death threats and other backlash.Read here.
Theresa May, “How this Government plans to end heartbreaking forced marriage and FGM in the UK,” The Telegraph (July 21, 2014). In this article, Theresa May, Home Secretary and member of the UK Parliament, discusses the issues of FGM and forced marriage in context of the first ever Girl Summit. Secretary May discusses the purpose of the Girl Summit and what the UK plans to do in response to these pressing issues. Read here.
Rosamund Urwin, “A mother’s tale of regret: I feel devastated that I forced my daughter to marry for ‘honour’…nobody should do it,” London Evening Standard (July 21, 2014). Journalist Rosamund Urwin interviews Zarina, a mother who forced her daughter into marriage. Zarina’s daughter eventually sought help from the UK based nonprofit JAN Trust, who, with the help of an imam who worked with the family over several months, helped mediate within the family and led Zarina and her husband to see that forced marriage has nothing to do with Islam, and that they were mistaking tradition for religion. Read here.
Nomsa Maseko, “Zambian child bride: ‘I was forced to marry a stranger’,” BBC (July 21, 2014). This article looks at the issue of forced and child marriage in Zambia through the story of Agnes, a 17-year-old girl who was forced to marry a man she has never met before, and includes stats about the problem in Zambia as well as examples of community leaders who are taking a stand against forced and child marriages. Read here.
Rick Gladstone, “Study Tracks Millions of Child Brides,” The New York Times (July 21, 2014). This article discusses a recent study published by UNICEF on child marriage worldwide. The study found that child marriage still remains widespread with the highest rates in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa (the top ten countries with highest rates of child marriage fall in these two regions: Niger, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Guinea, India, Central African Republic, Mali, Chad, and Bangladesh). Read here, and Read a summary of the UNICEF research here.
Sophie Warnes, “How prevalent is forced marriage in the UK?” The Guardian (July 22, 2014). In response to the first ever Girl Summit and the recent criminalization of forced marriage in the UK, this article looks at various statistics related to this issue, such as prevalence, countries of origin, and ages of victims. Read here.
Jean-Claude Kamwenubusa, “Forced marriage in Burundi puts young girls at risk of HIV infection,” Girls Not Brides (July 22, 2014). In this article, the nonprofit Girls Not Brides reports on how the government of Burundi is failing to protect the rights of women and girls in response to early and forced marriage. They look at the lack of legal protections, the problem of HIV/AIDS, and poverty and religious factors, illustrating how concerns about honor and chastity drove the forced marriages of two Christian girls who were rape victims. Read here.
Lyric Thompson, “Protecting girls’ rights: ending forced marriage,” Open Democracy (July 22, 2014). In response to the UK Girl Summit, Lyric Thompson with the International Center for Research on Women discusses steps the US government can take in order to end forced marriage. One step that Thompson says the Obama administration can take immediately is to develop a comprehensive strategy outlining the actions it will take to end child marriage internationally. Read here.
“Australia’s ‘hidden’ abusive migrant marriages,” Agence France-Presse (August 1, 2014). This article discusses the issue of abusive international marriages and highlights the story of Kanya, a young woman from India who moved to Australia to marry her husband, and shortly after the circumstances of her marriage turned abusive. While the article states that most victims do consent to be married at first, advocate emphasize that the forced aspect of the marriage manifests later, when they are unable to safely leave a marriage that has become abusive or exploitative. Read here.
Catriona Harvey-Jenner, “Britain urged to back new European treaty to protect victims of forced marriage, domestic violence and stalking,”Cosmopolitan (August 4, 2014). This article discusses the UK Government’s failure to ratify the Istanbul Convention, which was opened for signatures in the Turkish capital three years ago. Although Britain has signed the Convention, thus far ratification and implementation in into British law has stalled. Read here.
“Tahirih Applauds American Bar Association Vote to Condemn Forced Marriage as a Fundamental Human Rights Violation,” Tahirih Justice Center (August 12, 2014). On August 12th the American Bar Association House of Delegates, the policy-making body for the largest national association of attorneys in the United States, voted to condemn forced marriage as a form of violence and a fundamental human rights violation. The resolution marks a pivotal recognition that forced marriage is not only a global problem, but also affects people living in the United States. Read here. To read the full text of the resolution click here.
“Interview with the Founder of Unchained, Fraidy Reiss,” Ma’yan (August 14, 2014). In this article Fraidy Reiss, founder of New Jersey based non-profit Unchained At Last, is interviewed about her experience as a survivor or forced marriage, her reasons for starting her organization, as well as misogyny in the bet din and alternative ways of approaching the issue of Agunah in the orthodox Jewish community. Read more.
Shaheen Hasmat, “Estrangement: ‘I haven’t spoken to my family for 6 years’,” The Telegraph (August 22, 2014). In this article Shaheen Hasmat discusses her own experience as a forced marriage survivor and the difficulties of being estranged from her family for the past 6 years. While Shaheen made the choice to stop speaking to her relatives, she emphasizes that estrangement poses serious challenges for survivors and often leaves individuals feeling incredibly vulnerable. The article also highlights Stand Alone, a UK based charity which provides support to individuals who are estranged from their families and raises awareness of the issue. Read more.
David Barrett, “Eritrean woman allowed into Britain despite Home Office’s fears of ‘illegal underage marriage’,” The Telegraph (August 23, 2014). This article discusses the case of a 15 year old girl from Eritrea who was allowed to enter the UK on a spousal visa in order to join her husband, despite the Home Office’s fears that she may have been involved in an illegal underage marriage. Jasvinder Sanghera, founder of Karma Nirvana, spoke out against the decision and others have also voiced concern. Read here.
“Focusing on forced marriage,” Plan International (August 25, 2014). A thought-provoking poem, written by 16-year-old college student, highlights the issue of forced marriage in England and around the world. The author was inspired to write about forced marriage after reading about Plan International’s “Because I am a Girl” campaign and some of the facts and figures about early and forced marriage. Read the poem and an interview with the author here.
Jill D’Ambrosio, “Westfield Resident Champions Women Trapped in Forced Marriages,” The Alternative Press (August 26, 2014). This article highlights the work of Fraidy Reiss, founder of Unchained At Last, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping women leave or avoid arranged or forced marriages. In July of this year, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed into law a bill spearheaded by Unchained that is particularly designed to help survivors of domestic violence. Read here.
Marlene Moses and Manuel Russ, “Forced Marriage,” Tennessee Bar Association (September 1, 2014). In this post, the authors outline the nature and scope of forced marriage in the United States and provide analysis of the pros and cons of criminalization. They also point out that the current ability of law enforcement and social services to accurately assess and respond to these situations is limited and they call on the U.S. government to continue their support of efforts to raise awareness and respond to victims. Read here.
Leonie Wagner and Aarti J Narsee, “Charge parents of child brides,” The Times (September 3, 2014). This article discusses the recent discussion paper released by the Law Reform Commission of South Africa which proposed a law that would criminalize forced marriage. The new law would allow for the prosecution of family and community members who “aid and abet” a marriage to which the wife has not consented. This proposal came in direct response to the practice of ukuthwala – abducting girls forcing them into marriage, often with the consent of their parents. Read here.
Richard Adams, “UK government commits further £330k to eradicate FGM,” The Guardian (October 10, 2014). This article highlights the announcement made by the UK government to commit £330k for projects that offer expertise and support to vulnerable groups, with £100,000 going towards work that supports survivors of forced marriage, and £150,000 to enhance community engagement in high risk areas for FGM and forced marriage in the UK. Read here.
Sonia Azad, “Forced Marriage Takes Center Stage at Domestic Violence Conference” ABC 13 Eyewitness News (October 16, 2014). In this story, ABC 13 Eyewitness News reporter Sonia Azad talks with the performers of the play “When We Leave” as well as other advocates present at the Multimedia Performance and Community Forum event that took place in Houston, TX in October as part of the Tahirih Justice Center Forced Marriage Initiative Honoring Our Heartbeats tour. Watch here.
Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker and Nino Bucci, “Sex trafficking, slavery and forced marriage on the rise in Australia, say police,” The Sydney Morning Herald (October 31, 2014). This article highlights the growing number of human trafficking and forced marriage cases under investigation in Australia this year. The article also features the work of Shakti Migration and Refugee Women’s Support Group Melbourne, which has been collaborating with police and other agencies since 2011. Read here.
Claire Carter, “London couple from Afghanistan who threatened to kill their daughter for refusing forced marriage had told her they would ‘cut her head off’ if she went to the authorities” The Daily Mail (November 5, 2014). This article details the case of a teenager in London who was recently granted a forced marriage protection order after years of alleged pressure and abuse from her family. Read here.
Mike Blanchfield, “Feds brace for backlash over new immigration rules banning polygamous, forced marriages,” The Canadian Press (November 5, 20140). This article highlights the proposed Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act that Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced on November 5th. Among other provisions, the proposed law would ban people in polygamous and forced marriages from immigrating to Canada and would set a national minimum age of marriage at 16. Read here.
Catherine Drew, “Group in UK lobbying for law on educating children about their rights,” Channel NewsAsia (November 8, 2014). This article outlines the efforts of the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (IKWRO) in the UK to help push legislation through the British parliament that would make it mandatory to teach children about their rights. The group hopes that such training can help prevent forced marriages and violence against women. Read here.
Jenny McCall, “London school warns students of FGM, forced marriage,” Al Arabiya News (November 18, 2014). This article highlights the work of one school in London to teach their students about female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage and about ways to prevent such practices from continuing. Read here.
“Suspected forced marriage of nine-year-old girl under investigation,” Australian Associated Press (December 1, 2014). This article discusses the case of a 9 year old girl in Australia who authorities suspect may have been sent overseas to be married. Read here.
“Australia reveals plan to alleviate forced marriages,” Business Standard (December 2, 2014). The Australian Government has announced a new plan to combat forced marriages, human trafficking, and slavery and has released a safety plan and Forced Marriage Community Package aimed at encouraging young women to seek help if they are facing a forced marriage. Read here.
Dan Corey, “Performers, speakers shed light on forced marriage,” The Daily Targum (December 3, 2014). In this article the performers of the play “When We Leave”, presented as part of “Honoring Our Heartbeats: A Tour to End Forced Marriage in the United States” Community Forum event, are interviewed about the issues of forced marriage and family violence and discuss the complex dynamics involved in such cases. The article also provides a detailed account of the entire Community Forum event which took place at the Institute for Women’s Leadership at Rutgers University. Read here.
Stephanie Levitz, “Senators challenge name, need for Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act,” The Canadian Press (December 4, 2014). This article summarizes a debate in the Canadian Senate over the the need for the new Conservative bill aimed at barring polygamous and forced marriages. One Senator raised concerns that the government’s goal of combating violence risks being overshadowed by the bill’s dramatic title and Deepa Mattoo from the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario (SALCO) comes out strongly against the bill. Read here.
Daphne Bramham, “Ottawa aims to end barbaric practices, such as polygamy,” The Vancouver Sun (December 9, 2014). This article outlines the impact that Canada’s proposed Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act could have on prosecutors ability to charge homegrown polygamist sects including Canada’s most notorious polygamist Winston Blackmore from the Bountiful community in Western Canada. Read here.
Zoie O’Brien, “Founder of the Freedom Charity, Aneeta Prem, visited Leyton Sixth Form College students to discuss forced marriage,” This Is Local London (December 15, 2014). This article highlights the work of Aneeta Prem, founder of Freedom Charity in the UK. Aneeta also shares the story of how she was inspired to begin working on the issue of forced marriage. Read here.