What does forced marriage mean?

We talk about forced marriage, if your parents or your family decide who you have to marry, you, however, do not want to marry the selected partner at all. With forced marriage, nobody asks you about your intention, whether you want to marry at all and particularly who you love.

If you do not want to marry, you did not agree with a marriage, you are browbeaten and feel like being forced, then it is a forced marriage.

You have the right to decide freely, if and who you wish to marry! Love and marriage must not be forced! A forced marriage has nothing to do with religion!
If you are not willing to marry, maybe your family will exert pressure on you. They will try to urge you to marry. There are different forms of pressure, such as:

  • Parents, brothers or sisters or other relatives blame you that you family will lose their honour
  • Blackmail (remaining silent, ignoring, no longer talking to each other, curfew, ban on contact, no pocket money)
  • Insulting you
  • Physical and/ or sexualized violence (threatening to hit you, hit or mistreat you).


Forced marriage or arranged marriage?

4 unge Frauen in weißen Hochzeitskleidern mit langem Schleier, die Münder der Mädchen sind mit Pflaster zugeklebt, die Arme mit rotem Stoff zusammengebunden

It is not always simple and possible to clearly differ between a forced marriage and an arranged marriage. A decisive criteria is, whether any pressure is exerted on you, and if you have the chance to say ‘no’. It depends on your personal evaluation, whether there is a forced marriage or not and what is to be considered as a constraint.

So you may feel a certain constraint, while your parents are considering their behaviour as ‚soft pressure’. There are girls and boys accepting the person chosen by their parents as their spouse who however have the final say themselves with the decision. Forced marriage means that the marriage is celebrated against the will of the bride or groom. Lot of pressure is exerted on you, and a refusal may have bad consequences for you.


Marriage of minors

In Germany marriages can only be made from the age of 18.

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