Forcing “I Do” Sep25

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Forcing “I Do”

We recently ran an article on Jasvinder Sanghera’s organization, Karma Nirvana, which is a U.K. charity devoted to helping victims of forced marriages and honor violence.

Due to her involvement in the fight against forced marriages, Sanghera has received death threats and had “feces smeared on her door.” Despite the backlash she receives, she continues to help young girls on a daily basis and has considered taking her fight to America.

Sanghera indicated that she “often gets queries from girls in America, where there is increasing evidence that forced marriages are occurring, with very little being done about it.” Although there is legislation in developing countries about forced marriage, there is none present in the U.S.

Julia Alanen, founder of the Global Justice Initiative, a Washington, D.C. based organization, stated that even though the State Department “considers forced marriage a violation of human rights, and when involving minors, a form of child abuse, ‘there’s no awareness of the practice here in the U.S.’”

The west often views forced marriage and honor violence as backward customs and something that is done in impoverished nations, however, recent and gruesome “honor killings in the U.K. and new research about the prevalence of underage marriage in the U.S.” is changing that outlook.

Layli Miller-Muro, the executive director of the Tahirih Justice Center, found there are few legal resources and remedies in the U.S. for victims of forced marriage; and few social-service agencies that know how to intervene in such situations.

In mid-September, Sanghera came to the U.S. in an effort to see if she could help with the situation. She stated that she hasn’t “ruled out opening a Karma Nirvana based here in America.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.