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Forced Marriage SPR14

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Julie Jenkins

on 17 March 2014

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Transcript of Forced Marriage SPR14

1956 Convention Supplementary Convention: \
Any institution or practice whereby:
(i) A woman, without the right to refuse, is promised or given in marriage on payment of a consideration in money or in kind to her parents, guardian, family or any other person or group; or
(ii) The husband of a woman, his family, or his clan, has the right to transfer her to another person for value received or otherwise; or
(iii) A woman on the death of her husband is liable to be inherited by another person;

--colonial officials didn't have a real interest in interfering with marriage practices
Local NGOs take up through
--education
--public awareness campaigns
Servile Marriage - 1990s-
Anti-Slavery Society
--bolstered by 1979 Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against women
Govs responded with
--education
--ensuring rights of women

Working Group on CFS
--takes up Forced Marriage in 2001
usually in context of immigrants
--'forcing' educated children into arranged marriages

Forced Marriage vs Arranged Marriage
--hinges on concepts coercion/consent
UK-debates starting in 1999
--"leaders of the Asian Muslim community to encourage their people to put their daughters happiness, welfare and human rights first. If they do, their community will progress and prosper, in line with the Sikh and Hindu communities" (address to House of Commons)
Framed as a problem of particular communities
--vs violence against women generally
South Asian communities, particularly Islamic
--"patriarchal and inherently uncivilized"
British South Asian women-- need to be rescued by state to escape cultural control
2006- attempt to make criminal offense
--contested by South Asian groups
--ample legislation prohibiting forced marriage
--stigmatizing SA communities

Civil Law proposed-- enacted in 2007
Civil Law--
--person threatened can appeal court to prevent forced marriage or protect individual

“Hotspots of radicalism and hotspots of honour-based violence – the Forced Marriage Unit have a lovely map on their wall and it basically identifies where most of their referrals are from and, if you went in the Special Branch of the Terrorist Unit and looked at their map, you would see significant links, significant correlation. So, maybe there is something about . . . extremism, the way people think around those issues, that links in with what happens with women in their families too. There was one case where I could actually evidence it, so how many others are there . . I have been talking to ministers for the last few months. I mentioned radicalism hotspots and the map of honour-based violence hotspots – then they really listened!” Nazir Afzal, a director of the Crown Prosecution Service, 22 November 2006
Forced Marriage defined as:
--"marriages without the valid consent of both parties, where duress is a factor"

--Why is this problematic? How do we determine coercion and consent in these issues?

"strategic choices within structural constraints"
Coercion and consent on a continuum rather than being opposed principles.
Might consent to marriage, but still face violence
--in all marriages

--types of marriage migration glossed as "buying brides" or "bride trafficking"
Coalition Against Trafficking in Women:
--see 'mail-order brides' as 'trafficked' women
"This exploitation of women carries heavy societal consequences - the continued degradation of women and oppression of the weak, which can promote other forms of sexual exploitation such as pornography, pedophilia, white slavery, and prostitution" (Mila Glodava, Mail Order Brides: Women for Sale)
--narrative of being from less-developed country is a form of coercion
--economic primary reason
--women are passive/submissive/victims
framing migration for marriage as 'trafficking' is an "unwarranted blur" of categories (Constable)
--doesn't allow for variations in circumstances, introductions, and actual experiences of couples
Constable finds:
--economic isn't always primary reason
--Understood to be a type of 'freedom' from other types of stigmas
--migration isn't always primary reason
“I suggest that an awareness of women’s agency does not require that we ignore or accept structural inequalities and gendered abuses. If we pay closer attention to women’s own attempts, their words and actions, to counter or resist, and in some cases strategically embrace, the very images of submissive wife or passive sex object that are uncritically reproduced in anti-trafficking literature, then we may avoid reproducing the notion that women’s subservience and victimization is a natural and expected outcome.” (Constable 2006)
"Why is marriage matching a form of trafficking? The business of the bride trade for marriage is sex trafficking because it treats women as a commodity that is sold to men. The purpose is not to find a lifetime loving partner for women, but to supply froeign men with a wife to be treated as a sex object, domestic worker, and all around slave" (CATW)
What strikes you about this film excerpt? How are the women represented??
US International Marriage Brokers Act of 2003--
--links international marriage brokerage with trafficking
--argues that foreign brides via IMBs are vulnerable to and experience domestic violence more often.
Why do women use IMBs to find foreign partners?
terms like 'mail order bride' reinforce idea of commodification and reinscribe images of passivity
Full transcript