Battle of Forced Marriages – Imagine you are in a movie theatre. Before you go in, you are craving for some cheesy caramel popcorn. So, you went to the counter and ordered it. However, the shopkeeper asked you to get the garlic bread and mayo. You politely rejected his suggestion and asked for the popcorn again. Now, he compels and threatens you to buy it. Now you don’t have a choice – It’s either his way or the highway. What would you do if this happens to you in real life? You will also find this dilemma at different crucial situations in your life. Many life decisions are to be taken at will, but when you have some people around it will be rather difficult to pursue what your will says.
What if this similar situation arises when you are about to choose your future or life partner? What if you are forced into it? How would you take it and how well would it go? We are sure many of you reading this article might have/had similar scenario and heard some of the below statements from people. For the unknown, we are listing some of those statements which might give you a clear understanding of what forced marriages are –
1.”You will learn to like each other”
2.”If you do/don’t do this, it will shame the family”
3.”We know what’s best for you”
4.”Either get married or be disowned”
5.”If you don’t do what we want, you’ll ruin your siblings’ lives”
6.”You need to do this for the family”
7.”Do this for us/me”
8.”If you love us you’ll listen”
9.”If you don’t marry… I will kill myself”
Love does involve some compromises and sacrifices but that’s not what we’re talking about here. The concept where he/she is demonized for saying ‘NO’ to the above circumstances. It is important to love your parents and put yourself and your future first. It’s not betraying them. We are often taught that love means sacrifice, that you can only really love someone if you put them and their needs ahead of your own. These two things are not mutually exclusive, you can love someone AND put yourself first. Many relationships end up much before they proceed to the marriage phase, by clearly not understanding this concept.
Being opinionated and questionable in real life is more considered ridicule than being over-submissive. When someone seems to reject or disavow the idea of arranged marriages and forced marriages, it is quickly pictured as a personal offense to the family including their parents and relatives. The concept of consent and coercion comes into conflict when there are parents involved in pressurizing the children to get committed.
FORCED 1 – DIVORCED 1
When there is a marriage arranged, it should be arranged with mutual consent and transparency, the bride and groom have equal right to talk to each other. This basic condition should be made mandatory. There are still some people who believe that bride should only know more about the groom only after their marriage. Only if any of them finds reluctant to continue with the proposal can back out at that exact moment, instead of getting a divorce later. Speaking of which, some people believe ‘divorce is forbidden, and killing themselves is better. That’s a huge topic maybe for another time. Why is it that a person’s wishes are not given importance over family status and expectations?
Many parents tend to cross the limits, with this sense of entitlement to their children’s lives, which seems toxic indeed. People tend to see the physical and tangible assets and properties of a person and decide whether he or she is the best-suited partner for their child. Ignoring the attitude and conduct may seem fine at the early stages but can lead to many family problems and quarrels. Forced 1 – Divorced 1, the score is keeping up. The parent’s generation has never experienced the freedom of choosing their partners, because of the age-to-maturity characteristic.
Whereas the present generation has more knowledge-seeking experiences than the older generation. People tend to be more private in recent years due to the technology advancements. Earlier, most of our parents lead a proper offline social life, where each one in the society knows thoroughly about the other individuals. It seemed easy to get to know a person’s conduct by checking and enquiring about him to the dear and near. But this set of processes is not compatible with the current generation, because of their non-public lifestyle. Now it is difficult to know more about a person’s character than his tangible assets. It is always primarily this ‘compatibility’ that works well and makes a successful relationship. The rest of the factors are secondary and only have little influence in real life.
Money can come and go, a good mindset can go further beyond. Many parents in their younger age, might have adored some successful person with good financial stability and tried to bring that stability to their home. The new educated and qualified generation who grew up in this stable environment is now adoring people with a greater mindset and personal compatibility. The needs changed when the generation changed. It is not just a ceremony, it’s not just getting someone into their lives. It is about the loudness of mind, love, and conduct quality.
- Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights deals with discrimination against women in marriage-related matters. It further ensures that both men and women have the same right to enter into marriage and to freely choose a spouse only with their free and full consent.
- Article 21 of the constitution, the Right to marriage is recognized as a fundamental right of every person under the section ‘right to live’
- Article 23 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, recognizes the right of every person to marry off their choice and states that no marriage shall be entered into without the free and full consent of either spouse.
- England – Reach out to Forced Marriages support unit – CLICK HERE
- Scotland – Reach out for support here – CLICK HERE
- CLICK HERE to read more on United Nations website on how you can tackle unavoidable situations.
Marriages lasting longer in the earlier times were a result of improper education and financial dependence, which made them stay with their spouses, cruel in-laws, and insensitive parents. If you check the divorce rates for the past two decades have doubled rate of divorce, especially happening in urban and rural areas as well. These were the marriages that were arranged and partly forced, where the individuals never knew the outcomes of their marriage. When they get to taste the new culture creates deep cracks in the relationships later on. The newer generation got educated and become independent, with proper awareness of their rights.
Due to many prevailing stigmas in society, many parents are afraid to willingly give back the control of their child’s life to themselves. It might be because of some bad experiences they have faced in their earlier times. With this stigma, the mindset travels through the family lines until someone is ready to accept it in themselves. If the new generation is trying to replicate the same mindset that of their parents there won’t be much difference in the values in the society and social stigma. By the process of killing the stigma, we no longer pass the poison chalice onto the generations that follow.
Next time when you are at a family function and that annoying relative asks you ‘ Why don’t you marry the one your parents point out?’
Just say “Conjuctio Animorum” and farm out!!
(It’s just saying: the mutual consent of both parties to a marriage is required)
What are your thoughts on forced marriages? Do let us know in the comments section below.
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Guest Author – Jibin Jose
An unparalleled guy, who goes from quarks to quasars! starts thinking ‘Do ants sleep at night?’ and end up in ‘Could Einstein be wrong?’. I don’t do great things. I do small things in a great way.