Last week, the British courts handed down its first ever sentence to a perpetrator of forced marriage. The perpetrator – a 34-year-old businessman from Cardiff – raped and imprisoned a woman, before forcing her to marry. It was just a year ago today that forced marriage became a crime in the United Kingdom.
What does this sentencing mean? Well, first and foremost, it will be a huge relief for the survivor, a young woman who had reportedly been dragged through the long and tortuous process of the defendant flip-flopping on his plea. This is all we can know about the case without putting the survivor at risk.
This unknown woman can now begin to try to put her life back together. Yet, she is the only one of an unknown number of victims living in this country to have been brought justice, those whose families – those who are supposed to support and love them no matter what – would often sooner see dead over shaming the family.