Frequently Asked Questions about Forced Marriage

What is a Forced Marriage?

Forced marriage is a marriage between two people where one or both of the individuals do not give their consent for the marriage to take place. If a person feels coerced or expected to marry against their wishes, this is also a forced marriage. It is usually the families of the individual who force them to marry. Marriage is about choice and forced marriage takes that choice away.

What is an Arranged Marriage?

An arranged marriage is a marriage that is organised primarily by the families of the individuals. In an arranged marriage situation, the individuals have a choice at all times and the marriage will only go ahead with the full consent of both parties.

Who does Forced Marriage happen to?

Forced marriage can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, race, religion, class, culture, nationality, sexuality or disability.

Doesn't Forced Marriage only happen to women?

Forced Marriage happens to both men and women, however statistics show that significantly more women are forced into marriage. In 2009, there were 1682 cases of Forced Marriage reported to the Forced Marriage Unit. 86% of these were women and 14% were men.

Is Forced Marriage part of some cultures?

While it may be a cultural tradition within some communities for families to arrange marriages, there is no cultural tradition that expects people to unwillingly enter into a marriage.

Why do some famillies practice Forced Marriage?

In families where arranged marriage is the norm, sometimes the expectations on an individual can become overwhelming. Where there is pressure, even though the family might not see it as such, it would be considered a forced marriage.

Is physical violence always involved in Forced Marriage?

Not necessarily. Sometimes there will be physical violence from the family or partner but more often it is verbal and emotional violence. Making an individual feel guilty, ashamed or helpless through expectations and emotional blackmailing are common within a Forced Marriage situation.  

What is Honour-Based Violence?

So-called 'Honour-Based Violence' is a term used to describe acts of domestic violence that are committed in the name of 'honour'. It is important to remember that 'Honour-Based Violence' and domestic violence are the same thing.

Who can help?

If you are experiencing forced marriage or have already been forced into marriage, there is help available. Please click on 'Agencies' on the top menu to find an organisation in your area who can support you.