One of the saddest things to see is a school-kid feel powerless to change what is happening to her.
People who live here in Hackney or in our neighbouring borough, Tower Hamlets, don’t know the half of what’s going on. I’d rather believe that than to think my neighbours are cultural relativists who think abuse is ok – for other people.
The Forced Marriage Act 2007 gives the Civil courts the power to grant an injunction (a Forced Marriage Protection Order) to stop a person being taken abroad and married against their will – and somebody can make this application to the court on your behalf. The first step is to let somebody know what’s happening to you – this includes your teacher, doctor and/or the police.
Forced marriage may not be a crime per se, but kidnapping and abduction, false imprisonment, harassment, rape and assault are.
If you are being or have been bullied into marrying someone, please get help as soon as you can. A GP is often a good first port of call. An interview with a health professional may be the only opportunity some girls/women have to tell anyone what is happening to them.