Too many young Londoners are “morally ambiguous” about forced marriage and must be taught about human rights, campaigners warned today.
A new study of the views of young people from immigrant families found some believe forced marriage can be “good” for women and is done with their best interests at heart.
Researchers found that while the same group of young Londoners are against female genital mutilation, there is more acceptance of forced marriage.
Naana Otoo-Oyortey, executive director of the charity FORWARD, which commissioned the report, said many people still support the supposed reasons why forced marriage happens, such as protecting virginity.
The report concluded that raising awareness of “the absolute nature of human rights” is vital in combatting both forced marriage and FGM. Ms Otoo-Oyortey said: “Notions of chastity were very strong even among those who say they are liberal”, and forced marriage was seen as “an acceptable way of stopping girls being promiscuous.”
She added that people are now more willing to speak about female genital mutilation, but that forced marriage is the “new taboo.” Researchers questioned a group of 18- to 30-year-olds living in London whose families are from countries where FGM and forced marriage occur, including Iran, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan and Nigeria.