Rahila Gupta

Prosecuting forced marriage is satisfying – but preventing it is better still

Some women will testify in court against their parents. Most will not.

Crimes of violence against women have unconscionably low rates of conviction.  This appears to be particularly true of violent crimes experienced by minority women, as in the case of forced marriage and female genital mutilation. No wonder then that the first successful conviction of forced marriage in England last week, four years after it was criminalised in 2014, was universally welcomed. In a second case, a Bangladeshi couple in Leeds have been found guilty of tricking their 19 year old daughter into travelling to Bangladesh to marry her first cousin (you wait ages for one and then two come along in one week). FGM has an even worse record: it became a criminal offence in 1985 but there has never been a successful conviction despite evidence that it is taking place in the UK.

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