FORCED TO SAY ‘I DO'
WOMAN'S OWN|September 21, 2021
After the Government committed to raise the legal age to marry in England and Wales to 18, campaigners agree it’s a good start. But what else can be done to protect those forced to wed?
LUKE MINTZ

Think of a wedding and you imagine a beaming couple surrounded by loved ones and celebrating their commitment to each other. But it’s not always so joyous. Arranged marriage is still common in the UK, particularly in Indian, Chinese, and Japanese cultures. And while some young Brits embrace arranged marriage and go on to have a happy and successful relationship, others feel forced to make a commitment that they don’t want.

In 2020, The Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) gave advice or support in 759 cases related to a possible forced marriage, with 199 of those cases affecting those under the age of 18. In June, the Government pledged to raise the legal age limit to marry to 18, which will surely go a long way in protecting children forced into marriage. Here, one woman shares her own experience and explains why the law change is just the start of what needs to be done.

‘I was lucky to escape – many women don’t’

Farhana Raval was forced into an arranged marriage at 16. It was about a week into my trip when I began to suspect I’d been duped. Back in the summer of 1999, I’d just finished my GCSEs and I was excited about my future. But, not long after my last exam, my worried-looking mum told me that my grandmother in Bangladesh was unwell. I flew over with my mum and younger sister. We were met with jubilation from Mum’s extended family. Indeed, our welcome party was so joyous, I didn’t look closely at my grandmother. If I had, I’d have seen she looked perfectly healthy.

A TOUGH SEVEN YEARS

Eventually, one of my cousins told me. ‘There’s a boy’s family coming to see you.’ With a sinking feeling, I realized Mum’s true motive for bringing me – to force me into marriage. It marked the start of a tough seven years. I was lied to, beaten, and sexually abused. I was lucky to escape – many women don’t.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM WOMAN'S OWNView All

Future-Proof Yourself By Giving Your Body Just What It Needs Right Now

No matter how old you are, future-proof yourself by giving your body just what it needs right now

4 mins read
WOMAN'S OWN
October 19, 2021

Are You Heading For Burnout?

If you regularly feel depleted, drained and detached from your daily life, now is the time to take action

4 mins read
WOMAN'S OWN
October 12, 2021

Why Are Eating Disorders On The Rise?

Hospitalisations among teenagers peaked after the pandemic. We investigate the importance of getting the correct support

4 mins read
WOMAN'S OWN
October 19, 2021

ASK THE DOCTOR

Doctor Dawn Harper answers all your questions

4 mins read
WOMAN'S OWN
October 19, 2021

TIME TO RELAX!

Could taking advantage of one of these great spa deals in the UK give you the R & R you need?

3 mins read
WOMAN'S OWN
October 19, 2021

SAVVY MUM: MY £1 DINNERS!

With eight mouths to feed on a budget, Kayleigh Baldwin, 35, got creative

3 mins read
WOMAN'S OWN
October 19, 2021

HOW COULD I CHOOSE BETWEEN MY BABIES?

Nichola Luther, 41, faced an impossible decision

5 mins read
WOMAN'S OWN
October 19, 2021

LUCAS WENT TO BED AND NEVER WOKE UP

Stacey Fleetwood, 42, is living every mother’s worst nightmare

5 mins read
WOMAN'S OWN
October 19, 2021

THERE IS NO WRONG TIME, PLACE OR OUTFIT

The deaths of Sabina Nessa and Sarah Everard have left women upset, angry and scared

4 mins read
WOMAN'S OWN
October 19, 2021

WILL RICHARD BE FIRED?

The outspoken Good Morning Britain host is no stranger to dividing opinion, but could this be his downfall?

3 mins read
WOMAN'S OWN
October 19, 2021
RELATED STORIES

Tom & Haleya AWKWARD EXES

The Mission: Impossible co-stars are navigating a breakup while still filming!

1 min read
Star
October 25, 2021

UK PERMITS DEVELOPMENT OF GENE-EDITED CROPS IN LIMATE FIGHT

Britain’s government plans to allow researchers to use gene-editing techniques to develop crops that can increase yields, reduce the need for pesticides, and cut greenhouse gas emissions as the U.K.’s exit from the European Union allows it to deviate from the bloc’s rules.

1 min read
Techlife News
Techlife News #518

UK ENERGY CRISIS: GOVT IN CO2 DEAL TO AVERT FOOD SHORTAGES

The British government agreed to support an American-owned firm that produces much of the U.K.’s carbon dioxide, a deal designed to avert shortages of meat, poultry and packaged foods amid a crisis triggered by soaring energy costs.

3 mins read
AppleMagazine
September 24, 2021

POKÉMONSTER HUNTER

MONSTER HUNTER STORIES 2: WINGS OF RUIN is an approachable spin-off.

3 mins read
PC Gamer US Edition
November 2021

FACEBOOK SLAMS UK ANTITRUST WATCHDOG OVER CALL TO SELL GIPHY

Facebook has criticized the U.K. competition watchdog’s provisional decision ordering that it sell offGiphy because it said the acquisition of the company stifles competition for animated images.

1 min read
Techlife News
Techlife News #515

Tuning In to a Happier City

Noise is an irritant of urban life. But there are ways to make it easier on the ears—and the psyche

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
September 06, 2021

TIKTOK TO LET USERS SHOP THROUGH APP WITH SHOPIFY DEAL

TikTok users will soon be able to buy stuff directly through the short videos on the app — something they had only been able to do through ads until now.

1 min read
AppleMagazine
August 27, 2021

Revival of the Fittest

ORIGIN EFFECTS RD COMPACT HOT ROD

4 mins read
Guitar World
October 2021

FACEBOOK'S OWNERSHIP OF GIPHY HURTS COMPETITION

Facebook’s ownership of Giphy will hurt competition for animated images, U.K. regulators said Thursday, meaning the social network could ultimately be forced to unwind the deal if the provisional findings are confirmed.

2 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #511

SHOCK & AWE

COMPANY OF HEROES 3 is coming to wake up the RTS genre.

10+ mins read
PC Gamer US Edition
October 2021