Since watching a Panorama episode about the 'honour'-based abuse and murder prevalent within many (mostly) Asian communities in Britain, along with the custom of forced marriages which is tightly interwoven with the honour system (many commentators, indeed, cite the forced marriage tradition as the crux of the problem), I've been compiling notes with the intention of writing a piece on it. Unfortunatley, lack time means that a hefty swathe of notes that still feel incomplete is all I've managed so far. I will get to it sometime but it might take me a while. In the meantime, though, I thought I'd let someone else do the work, by sharing this video I found during 'the course of my enquiries'.
For those whose instant reaction is that this should be dealt with by law; you're damn right it should, but it's apparently not even illegal in this country! I quote from the Panorama programme: "The government is now considering making forced marriage a criminal offence." The emphasis is mine, but; Bloody Hell! 'Considering'! What the hell is there to 'consider'? If ever there was a type-example of a no-brainer, this surely is it; yet according to Karma Nirvana, a charity set up to deal with forced marriage and honour-based abuse, "It is important to note that in 2005 the Government made the decision not to make forced marriage a specific criminal offence and today there remains no specific criminal law in England and Wales." If you're English or Welsh, please consider filling in the Home Office consultation at that link.
I'll definitely have more to say on this, including how it affects those in other countries, and especially the south-Asian and north-African countries the tradition stems from, rather than just the UK. Until then, though, a couple of phone numbers for those in the UK.
For help regarding forced marriage specifically, call the Forced Marriage Unit on 02070080151.
For help with both forced marriage and other honour-based abuse, call Karma Nirvana on 08005999247.