There is a difference between arranged marriage and a forced marriage. It has become seemingly obvious that the two concepts are confused..The reason I wish to dispel the myth about arranged marriages being forced, is that the men and the families of the marriage are being demonized whilst the women are being victimized when it is simply not the case.
Arranged marriages are not forced upon the couple. Both partners MUST give their consent. It is an agreement between two families or perhaps just the two persons that they are willing to spend their lives together in joint matrimony. People dismiss this type of marriage claiming that it is not a real marriage as there is no “love” there. Love is a different topic entirely, a complex one, one of which I refuse to delve into right now. But it is not too difficult to comprehend that some people believe that you learn to love a person over time, gain their trust. This combined with financial stability that provides a good foundation for the couple to then have children if they wish. Whether you agree with it or not, that is what an arranged marriage is.
Forced marriage is entirely different. An issue of which thousands of women are forced into marrying men their family chose for them. Some of these marriages are abusive ones. Often the women living in patriarchal societies are forced to live under conditions of which a slave would. Those who disobey their family are sometimes disowned, “shamed”. The real shame lies with the attitudes of these people. They have no “honour” in their hearts. They are the ones who claim they are pious, pray to the Goddesses, yet treat women as though they are beneath them. But it is important to remember that it is not just women who suffer because of forced marriages. Men too are subjected into entering something of which they do not wish too.
Why is the issue so ignored? Some feel afraid as they do not wish to interfere with a culture they know little about. But the fact that it has been ignored means that it has become the norm. It should never be the norm that people are treated in this way.
The above story in the Guardian has provoked me to dismiss myths about arranged marriage and state why we need to highlight the impact of forced marriage. Hopefully it will provoke others to do the same, take action for those suffering and bring hope to generations ahead.