Whose Life Is It?
…annoying cultural traditions have a distinct knack of clinging on through generations. It would be no exaggeration to say that thousands of young British Asian women are forced into marriage every year…I have seen well educated and well adjusted friends slowly become nervous wrecks as their parents pile on the pressure…last week the Home Office decided a specific law to ban forced marriages was not needed. To put it mildly, the decision was not only a travesty but an unbelievably stupid fudge…Yet once again Labour has fallen victim to an army of Asian apologetics who prefer this muddle and like to pretend that the practice is very rare. Complete rubbish.
For example, Pragna Patel from the Southall Black Sisters, is quoted as saying on Radio 4: “We don’t see the need for criminalisation of forced marriage, which is yet another way of stereotyping and criminalising entire communities at a time when there is heightened racism in this country.” When a women’s rights group is more worried about stereotyping than the well-being of thousands of women, alarm bells should be ringing within their offices.
Yeah. It’s also quite an odd idea that forced marriage should not be criminalized. It’s not as if it’s a trivial thing. It’s not like forcing a woman to sit next to someone she doesn’t like at dinner, or like forcing her to stay home for an evening when the relatives are coming over. It’s deciding the entire shape of her life; it’s handing her over to someone who will have authority over her (clearly people who think forced marriage is appropriate for girls are not going to think an egalitarian marriage is a swell idea) for the rest of her life (or his) without allowing her the right of refusal. What if she has other plans? What if she wants to go to graduate school and become a physicist or an historian? What if she wants to become a journalist and work on the foreign desk, spending a few years in Africa maybe, then a few years in Latin America or Asia? What if she wants to become a musician, or a surgeon, or a computer scientist? What if she simply wants to shape her own life rather than having her parents shape her life? Well, she doesn’t get to. So, what is that? It’s slavery, or else imprisonment. Slavery and unlawful imprisonment are both crimes, so why should forced marriage not be a crime? Because it’s okay if it’s your parents who do it to you? I don’t think so.
Many of the respondents felt naming and shaming of coercive parents would lead to communities being “unfairly labelled” and creating a negative stereotype. Such daft responses are not surprising once you consider that most of those opposed were middle-aged men considered to be our “community representatives”…It is racism of the worse kind – a tacit acceptance that vigorously affording them the same protection as other women is not necessary because of their colour or culture.
Yup. See (as I have said several times in the past) Susan Moller Okin’s Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women?. Clearly, yes, it is.
If you think it’s not, check out the comment (at 10:26 p.m.) of FaisalB – would that be Faisal Bodi?
Another article betraying your thirst to gain secular liberal acceptance. Where’s imprisoning parents going to get anyone? The whole idea behind the government’s culturally and religiously sensitive approach to the subject is to try and keep families intact during times of severe stress. Only in the most extreme cases should external assistance be offered. Even then it should be applied in such a way as to try and maintain the integrity of the family.
Secular liberal bad, culturally and religiously sensitve good, keeping families intact (at the expense of the coerced girl or woman) good, integrity of the family (but not the girl or woman) good. Yes, multiculturalism sucks for women. Next question?