Do you think anyone would ever want to suffer the wrath of a forced marriage? No, never! But unfortunately, this ordeal is a part of our Pakistani culture. Although both the bride and groom can be pressured into signing the papers legalizing their forced marriage; but mostly it is the girl who gets pushed into the wedlock against her consent. It has been like this for centuries. This culture is cultivated not only in rural areas where education is scarce, but also in many urbanized households.
There are several situations that can trigger a forced marriage. The pressure can be financial, emotional, or just simple blackmailing. Have a look at some of the most common reasons that prevail in our society today.
The need to exercise parental authority.
Most parents throughout the country live by the notion that they can use their parental authority over their child under any given circumstances or Parents of a girl usually feel that getting her married off at a young age is a better option. They believe that it’s rare to be able to find a good suitor. Once found, education and other dreams become secondary, something which can be achieved after the marriage too. In their eyes, they are the ones who can make a better decision of finding the perfect match for their child. It doesn’t really matter if the girl is unwilling; the minor will eventually accept her fate without keeping grudges, that’s what they think.
Preservation of wealth and family honor
Another trait of conservative guardians is their desire to find a bride or groom, for their son/daughter, from within their own community. Members of other communities appear to be alien to them, and they can’t bear the thought of their offspring adapting to a culture which is different from their own. Some even prefer to get their daughters married off into the extended family, like a cousin or distant relative, in order to prevent the family wealth from flowing outside, strengthening family ties, and maintaining caste status. Another reason to coax her into tying the knot early is to prevent the development of any romantic interests that might bring disgrace to the family honor.
Improving financial standing
In most poverty ridden areas across Pakistan, and even in some middle-class households to be honest, a daughter is considered as an economic burden. Marrying her off at the soonest is the best way to lower the financial strain. Moreover, such families tend to accept even unfit proposals that offer a hefty amount in exchange for the wedlock. They see it as a great opportunity to settle off debts and gain riches overnight, without caring about the happiness of the child being “sold”. Wealthy families too often promote the forced marriage culture by finding suitors that hold the same financial status as their own or even better to maintain their standing in society.
Undoubtedly, parents have the right to suggest a potential spouse to their children, but even our religion does not permit anyone to manipulate an unwilling person into the matrimonial relationship. It has been estimated that around 21% girls in the country are married forcefully before they turned 18. Parents need to realize that this behavior casts a negative impact on the victimized children and leads them into a state of mental and emotional trauma that persists for the whole life. This cultural dilemma needs to be shown an end. It’s high time to stand against this injustice.
I know this practice won’t end any sooner, but i hope these words and pictures conveyed the darker side of it,educates & motivates people take a initiative against it!