Forced Marriage Warning Signs

Warning Signs that an Individual May be Facing a Forced Marriage

Family History

  • Unreasonable restrictions by parents, such as being placed on “house arrest” or not being allowed to speak with others without supervision
  • Family disputes or conflicts, or mentions of “honor” violence
  • Siblings or other family members who had forced or early marriages.
  • Self-harm or suicide attempts by siblings
  • Death of a parent
  • Unexpected or unfamiliar visitors or houseguests

Health Issues

  • Mental health concerns, including anxiety, depression, isolation, emotional withdrawal, self-harm, or attempted suicide
  • Early, unwanted, or concealed pregnancy
  • FGM/C or virginity tests, or other increased attention to gynecological health or fertility
  • Accompanied by family members to all visits never left alone with provider

Law Enforcement Issues

  • Family reports individual for substance abuse, theft, shoplifting, etc.
  • Reports of violence, abuse, death threats in family home against individual or other family members
  • Individual or siblings reported missing or runaway

Education/Employment Issues

  • Planned or threat of unusual travel overseas, especially to “visit a sick family member” or “for someone else’s wedding”
  • Fear of upcoming holidays or breaks, or lack of confidence that they will return to school or work afterwards
  • Sudden withdrawal from school or work, especially if pressured by family
  • Frequent, persistent, unexplained absences
  • Surveillance by siblings or other family members
  • Unusual decline in behavior, grades, punctuality, performance
  • Withdrawal from school by parents/forced to quit job