Forced marriage is when you are made to marry someone you don’t want to marry. When this happens, even if it is thought of as normal in your culture, forced marriage is against your human rights, and if you are too young it can be seen as child abuse. The pressure put on people to marry against their will can be physical (like threats, physical violence or sexual violence) and it can also be emotional and psychological (such as when someone is made to feel like they’re bringing shame on their family). Financial abuse (taking your wages or not giving you any money) can also happen.
If you believe you are suffering from this type of abuse, or you are worried that you might be forced into a marriage against your will, there are support groups, websites, charities and helplines that are open and there to help you along with the police.
If you think you know someone who is going to be forced into marriage, common warning signs include:
People being forced into marriage usually can’t talk about what is happening because of emotional pressure being put on them by their family. If you feel concerned about someone’s safety and the possibility that they are going to be forced into marriage, do not talk to their family or community – this can put them in more danger and make things worse. Instead, call the Forced Marriage Unit for help and advice.