This morning I read a post that I found rather troubling. The post was in the Metro morning paper and covered the topic of forced marriages in New York City. Note I didn’t say “arranged marriage”, I specifically said “forced marriage”. I also didn’t say “India”, or “Asia”, or “Africa”, I said in New York City…. Say what???
Marriages can be “forced” by any number of manipulative or downright abusive methods as per writer Alison Bowen.
How families force the young women into marriages with older, at times abusive men:
Threats of violence.
Threats of suicide by the mother.
Threats of marrying out the younger sister.
Threats of being disowned.
And who knows what other methods are used. Women as young as 15 have been married out and told not to say that they are married in school because they would all go to jail. Jail for the parents in my opinion is actually deserved. By forcing your daughter to marry at such a young age, you are in essence allowing this old ass man to rape her because of your ridiculous cultural beliefs.
Now I generally accept other people’s cultural ways, and if these girls were willing, then I’d say, “Well it’s on them”. But if they are being forced by these tactics, then in my opinion this is a form of rape and torture against these young women! I have no problem calling the practice what it is, sick, sick, sick. You sick freakos!
I covered the topic of honor, arranged marriages and the sort for a college paper I wrote. I still recall my interviews with the young people that supported arranged marriages and some of their logic was sane, even to someone opposed to the whole concept of arranged marriage like me.
Supporters of arranged marriages speak:
By having my parents pick a mate for me I can focus on my schoolwork and making the best future for myself. I know that my parents will pick someone that will be great for me, they are my parents after all and who better to choose a life mate for you?
American girls, especially teens are always getting their hearts broken by boys. They get tricked and used by many men. Before they marry they have had many sexual partners, children, diseases and abortions. These are not things that we concern ourselves with.
Americans and their love philosophy, if love is so great then why do they have so many divorces, unlike our cultures.
It doesn’t matter if you like the person at first, you learn to love them because you know that they are yours, picked by the people that love you most in the world. Your parents.
Many other interesting points were made by the students I worked with, I should note that most of the students I worked with that supported arranged marriages were from India.
So to a degree I can say that I understand their willingness to go along with this cultural practice. However a forced marriage where the woman does not want to marry, where some end up being in abusive marriages, in families where the girl is treated like a slave, this I cannot, do not and will not support.
If you are the victim of a forced marriage and want out, or you know about someone that is in the situation, no matter what stage, contact Fraidy Reiss from The New Jersey group she founded, “Unchained at Last” for help. Thanks to Alison Bowen for bringing this to our attention.