Why We Must Urgently Stop Forced Marriages

Posted by Feisty Fati
January 31, 2017

In times when gender sensitisation and women’s rights are at an unprecedented high, we might just shift our focus on to the subject of marriages that are forced on girls/women in today’s era. Yeah! You heard it right. Forced marriage may give a picture of child marriages only, but the victims of forced marriages are not just children. Sane, educated adults are being forced for various reasons.

You are old enough to get married. How on earth can one’s age decide when to get married? I know it is medically proven and all that! But if one doesn’t want to, why pester? There is also emotional torture from parents. “Who will look after you when we die?” Oh! So, where the hell do those annoying uncles and aunties disappear who keep poking in every other family affair and when the time comes to help, they just back off! That’s utterly mean. Some would say that in today’s era women are financially independent but there are some unfortunate ones who aren’t and become like sacrificial goat. Obviously, the emotional blackmail doesn’t end there, it continues with, ‘khandan ki izzat’ (clan’s honour). If that doesn’t help, they would use another filmi dialogue. “Agar tumne ye shaadi nahin ki, to aj se humara aur tumahara rishta khatam.” (If you don’t get married, then the relationship between you and us is finished today.) Seriously?

If the father’s financial conditions are worsening, the daughter has to bear the brunt.Why? And the list goes on.

It’s ironical that in times when videos such as “My Choice” are being made to make it clear that women too have choices related to marriage, sex, etc., there are poor victims who cannot stand up and fight for their rights because they are pressurised. Some may even speak, but their voices might not be heard behind the walls of their house and the parents turn deaf ears to them. I don’t understand that if parents want to see their child happy and if that particular goal is not being fulfilled, how does any of it make sense.

Forced marriage is a very serious issue that needs to be addressed. Girl education is one domain in the women empowerment drive that has gained a lot of momentum from all sections of the society. But at the same time, we cannot overlook the other issues women are facing. Forced marriages are not just confined to India alone, NRIs living in foreign countries often force their daughters to marry a boy from their homeland in the name of culture, religion, etc. This issue was brought to light with movies such as “Khuda Kay Liye” and “Namastey London”. However, in this movie Katrina happens to fall in love with Akshay, the man she has been forced to marry.

Well, the point that I am trying to make is that forced marriages are prevalent in the 21st century and it needs to be stopped. The other day I was surfing on the internet and I came across various stories about girls who have been subjected to forced marriage and can’t get out of it because of societal norms and pressure. Parents have to understand that a woman is not a dress, a pen or any material that she can compromise with. It is her life and she cannot compromise with someone she is forced to live with. We must stop forced marriages!

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