Forced marriage is a term used to describe a marriage in which one or more of the parties is married without his/her consent or against his/her will. A forced marriage differs from an Arranged marriage , in which both parties consent to the assistance of their parents or a third party in identifying a spouse. The practice of forced marriage was very common amongst the upper classes in Europe until the 1900s, and is still practiced in Women in South Asia, and the Women in the Middle East and North Women and African Economic Development (MENA). Forced marriages in modern Western Europe are generally practiced within migrant communities. Most of the involuntary spouses are women, although men may be forced into such marriages as well.
Forced marriages are generally arranged because of family pride, the wishes of the parents, or social obligation. For example, according to Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood, many forced marriages in Britain within the Pakistani Muslim community are aimed at providing British citizenship to a member of the family presently in Pakistan to whom the instigator of the forced marriage feels a sense of duty.
Western society and the United Nations view forced marriage as a form of human rights abuse, since it violates the principle of the freedom and autonomy of individuals. However, other cultures view forced marriage as the only valid form of marriage as they may not recognize Western notions of love and romance. The Roman Catholic Church deems forced marriage grounds for granting an annulment — for a marriage to be valid both parties must give their consent freely. Many Catholics and other Christians consider forcing a person to marry someone a sin.
- Child marriage
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- Website that provides information and advice on forced marriage: http://www.forcedmarriage.net/