Welcome to SPN

Register and Join the most happening forum of Sikh community & intellectuals from around the world.

Sign Up Now!

Forced to Wed: 'They Think They're Doing What's Best for the Child'

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by spnadmin, Nov 14, 2009.

?

Should Canada continue to rescue young women and men forced into marriage?

  1. Yes! Forced marriage violates fundamental human rights.

    11 vote(s)
    91.7%
  2. No! Cultural differences must be respected.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. No! Governments should never interfere with family decisions.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Undecided. Sometimes there may be good reason to force someone into a marriage.

    1 vote(s)
    8.3%
  5. No opinion. I have never really thought much about this issue.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
    Expand Collapse
    1947-2014 (Archived)
    SPNer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2004
    Messages:
    14,551
    Likes Received:
    19,200
    Forced to wed: 'They think they're doing what's best for the child'

    Rescue in Punjab shows disturbing tradition is alive in Canada
    Raveena Aulakh Staff Reporter


    Photo: Sandeep Chand, 34, has been coerced into marriage twice.

    When no one was around, Jassi Kaur quietly slipped into her niece's room, where the 19-year-old woman sat huddled in a corner sobbing.

    Angry relatives had confronted her for one reason: she had a boyfriend.

    "It was awful," Kaur recalls. She cradled the girl, told her everything would be fine.
    It wasn't.

    Weeks later, in January, the entire clan – which resides in a sprawling house in Brampton – flew to Punjab, India's northern province. Within days, the Grade 12 student was married to a man she had never met before.

    Sandeep Chand, 34, a manager of client care for a bank in Victoria, B.C., has been forcibly married twice (see accompanying story).

    "I hear stories like that almost every day," says Deepa Mattoo, a community legal worker at the South Asian Legal Clinic in Toronto. "The surprising thing is that many parents believe there's nothing wrong with it ... they think they are doing what is the best for their child."

    Forced marriages have garnered little attention in this country. But the plight of Canadian teen Hardeep Flora, who two weeks ago fought her way back to Canada after contacting consulate officials in India, has suddenly cast a spotlight on a deeply hidden form of abuse.

    In Flora's case, the 19-year-old had been whisked away by family to Punjab where her money and travel documents were taken away. She was told she couldn't leave until she was married. A phone call to the Canadian consulate led to a dramatic rescue.

    Every year, dozens of young Canadian girls, and occasionally boys, are forced into marriages, social workers say. Mattoo, who has been working with the South Asian legal clinic for three years, sees at least two dozen cases annually.

    A majority involve families of South Asian origin, but girls have also been taken back to the Middle East or African nations like Sudan and Egypt, and coerced into marriage.

    "It's a cross-cultural and cross-racial issue," says Zahra Dhanani, legal director for the Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children. "It's all about power, control and dominance ... It might happen more among South Asians, but I have had clients from Nigeria, South Africa, Europe and even WASP-y Canadians."

    Dhanani cites the marriages of underage members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Bountiful, B.C., as an example of forced marriage among Caucasians.

    The most common motive is preservation of culture. "Parents think if they marry their daughter off to someone who was born and raised in, say, Pakistan, it will help preserve the culture," says Mattoo. "What they don't understand is that they are wreaking havoc on their kids' lives."

    Some parents see it as carrying on a long-standing tradition of arranged marriage – whether the kids agree to it or not. Mattoo tells people an arranged marriage is one where you have a choice; in a forced marriage you have no choice.

    Forced marriage can also be a matter of family honour. "It's acceptable if the son is dating someone, but God save you if you, a girl, have a boyfriend," says Amandeep Kaur, manager of Punjabi Community Health Services.

    "It's totally unacceptable."

    HARVINDER SIDHU, a long-haul truck driver from Brampton, says he and his 21-year-old girlfriend were engaged to be married two years ago. The wedding date was set, cards designed and a banquet hall booked for the occasion.

    "My girlfriend and I were really excited," says Sidhu, 25. "We had even checked out some apartments in Mississauga."

    Then his girlfriend and her parents went on an unexpected trip to India. When they returned a month later, Sidhu's girlfriend was married. "I just spoke to her once after that," he says. "She says she was coerced into getting married. Her father was unwell and put pressure on her to marry someone in the same caste."

    A common modus operandi is for the family to take the girl to their native country under some pretext. Once there, she is pressured into marrying a man the family has chosen. Some see their husbands for the first time on their engagement or wedding day.

    Earlier this year, schoolteachers in England were urged to be aware of signs of possible forced marriages, since schools and colleges are often the only places where a potential victim can speak freely.

    In 2005, England set up a Forced Marriage Unit, run jointly by the Home Office and Foreign Office. It received 1,600 reports of forced marriages last year, and intervened in 420 cases. A specialized British team has launched secret rescue missions to bring home victims held captive by their families abroad.

    The unit also runs shelters in New Delhi, India; Lahore, Pakistan; and Dhaka, Bangladesh, among other cities in the world.

    "We have a lot of work to do yet before clamouring for a similar unit," says Ritu Chokshi, coordinator of the South Asian Legal Clinic's forced marriages project, which started in 2005.

    Its advisory board includes members of the federal departments of justice, foreign affairs and international trade. "If we put emphasis on prevention, there's a lot we can achieve."

    The federal justice department has researched cases involving forced marriage in Western Canada. A similar study has been done in Montreal and Toronto but results have not been released, says spokesperson Carole Saindon.

    Chokshi and Mattoo organize workshops to help parents and children understand the concepts of honour and marriage. Depending on circumstances, Mattoo advises young girls to fight if they are being forced into marriage. "But if I think the woman is in mortal danger, I advise her to lay low, get married and get back to Canada quickly."

    Once here, she tells them not to file sponsorship papers for the husband. If the papers have already been filed, her advice is to withdraw them. Meantime, she tries to get the marriage annulled or start divorce proceedings.

    But in the past year Mattoo has noticed a disturbing trend. "I've seen that many girls forced into marriages are brought back when they are pregnant," ensuring they don't leave their new husbands once back in Canada.

    Firdaus Ali, of the Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention in Toronto, says forced marriage isn't just a heterosexual issue. Gays and lesbians are also forced into matrimony because parents believe it will "cure them of the disease."

    The results are tragic. "It leads to turmoil, mental health issues and even depression." The worst, says Ali, is not being able to tell anyone "because of the shame factor."

    Because the situation involves family members, rarely do victims of a forced marriage press charges, says Manjit Mangat, a Brampton lawyer.
    He recalls a particularly angry Brampton man who once turned to him for help. His 19-year-old girlfriend had been travelling in Pakistan when her parents suddenly announced she was getting married. The girl escaped and returned to Toronto, but would not press charges.

    "I don't understand that but I guess that's our culture," says Mangat. "That is among other things that has to change. You just cannot accept what happens to you."

    Jassi Kaur's niece, now 20, is back in Canada. She has filed sponsorship papers for her new husband, still in India but waiting to join her. Kaur says there is little she can do for that niece. But now she worries for the young woman's sister.

    She doesn't think she can stand by and watch another forced marriage in the family.

    "I can't see it happening a second time," she said.


    Forwarded by Tejwant Singh ji Malik. :)
     

    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 3
  2. Loading...


  3. kds1980

    kds1980 India
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2005
    Messages:
    4,504
    Likes Received:
    2,738
    Well the cases here written are wrong but in certain circumstances forcing a person who is mature could benefit in long run

    I have dad's younger sister (bhua) who did not married.We use to live in big joint family
    with grandmother's sister too who did not have any child and she was more their daughter.
    at the right age she refused to get married and both the parents did not put enough pressure they told her that joint family was living could break and then what will she do
    but still she did not agreed.to fill the social life she always showered loved on neices and on nephews.but as predicted by elders joint family broke down and each of us went in our own ways.Today at 58 she is living a life which is very bad only 2 rooms no one to talk.
    Thank god she has good health and goes to Gurdwara regularly but again aging process in going on.All her nephews and neices are busy or have problems and our main responsibility is still toward our natural parents first but still i try my best to help her.At the time of death of elders in our family they only had one tension what will happen to their daughter after them and they were right.
     
    • Like Like x 4
  4. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
    Expand Collapse
    1947-2014 (Archived)
    SPNer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2004
    Messages:
    14,551
    Likes Received:
    19,200
    kanwardeep ji

    There are so many stories of elderly men and women left alone after a family starts to die off. My husband's mother's brother is the same . He never married and lived with his sister (mother of my husband). When she died he lived with the second sister. When she died he was completely alone. He became socially isolated and listened to television day and night. He kept a heavy tool box near the front door to block anyone from getting in. So when my husband would visit him twice a week, then he had to break in through the back door. Uncle would never answer the phone -- so it was impossible to let him know that anyone was going to visit. Once in the house, then Uncle would start yelling at my huband-- What are you doing here? As he got older and very sick, he refused to move in with us nor with my husband's brother and his wife. It is not good to be alone. Over time the mind and body rapidly wear down.

    But yes -- these cases are wrong. People do extreme things from fear.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  5. kds1980

    kds1980 India
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2005
    Messages:
    4,504
    Likes Received:
    2,738
    Narayanjot ji

    I don't have any knowledge of life in USA .But in India majority of people keep living with their sons upto their last breath and it is one of the main reason for conflict in familes and main reason for demand of boys too.In the case I mentioned to be honest no one want's her to be with him or her .Some have financial,health problem and some don't have any intention.In India In the old age no one can take place of spouse and their own children.They are your best insurance for old age
     
  6. Lee

    Lee
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Messages:
    495
    Likes Received:
    377
    To 'force' anybody to do any thing they have no wish to do is wrong really.

    Having said that however there is much sense in familes looking after each other.
    before I became Sikh I really gave no thought as to what my mum and dad would do or how they would live in their old age. Now I intend to have one of them stay with me and my wife.

    I would have both, ahhh but they have been divorced for many years now and hardly see each other, so I would not wish to cause them any embarresment by putting them back together.

    I would like to say although it still causes me some problems, sorting just what is Sikhi and what is Indian cultrure, from my faith I am very gald indeed to take on board this aspect of culture, it makes sense, it is humanitrian, and sadly it seems to be something we have largely lost over here in the UK.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
    Expand Collapse
    1947-2014 (Archived)
    SPNer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2004
    Messages:
    14,551
    Likes Received:
    19,200
    Lee ji and Kanwardeep ji

    This conversation raises many interesting things about life in different cultures. More and more in the US parents refuse to move in with their children. It means giving up independence and control. Control over how they spend their time, control over having their own space, control over money, and many other things. It is difficult to encourage them to rely on someone else, or see how their health prevents them from truly independent living. For the parents a child is always a child -- no matter how old, wealthy or well-employed. You are always a child and there is no way they will allow a "child" to make decisions for them. This leads to many difficult scenarios where the older parent insists on independence and is left alone by their own choice and at risk, and other scenarios where they in the end have no choice but to change their lifestyle to something less independent. A lot of heart-ache for everyone involved.
     
  8. Sikh royalist

    Sikh royalist
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2009
    Messages:
    115
    Likes Received:
    78
    kanwardeep singh ji
    you may not be aware of another India in which children's show their parents the way out of house i first saw such old mens when i was a kid and was on a visit to an old age home near my house i could never understand why did their children's took this step i can never imagine to do so from birth parents take so much of pain to raise their kids a mother would sleep without having a bread but not without giving one to her kids
    i don't think we can ever even give 1% of what we get from our parents.
    your bhua is still lucky at least she didn't had to regret that she married gave birth to kids and they did so bad with her it can be any way it is the lords will and it is good she is close to the guru the guru will help her.

    the worst forced marriage that i know about was in the case of my uncle fathers younger brother he too like me was a clean shaved Sikh he liked a girl the girl loved him too but there was certainly a problem don't know exactly the matter has never been discussed in the family the girl was either from a different caste or may be she was from different religion my grandparents refused to accept her and fixed my uncles marriage to another girl from our community and so did the girls parents the girl committed suicide a day before her marriage with the boy of her parents choice that gave a big shock to my uncle i have never seen him being too much of happy although he married had kids but i don't think he was ever happy after all this happened.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Lee

    Lee
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Messages:
    495
    Likes Received:
    377

    SikhRoyalist ji,

    that is very interesting, thanks for shareing.

    What I brought to my mind is that this relationship between parent and child, it goes both ways.

    To your mind it is beyond understanding why a child should put his parents out of his house, as the parents sacrifce so much for their children. You are right we cannot even begin to pay them back for all that they have done for us, we cannot contemplate the causeing of pain to them.

    Yet this causeing of pain must also go the other way. To me it is beyond understanding also. Why would parents force their chidlren to marry somebody that they have no wish to marry? Why would they cause such pain?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Sikh royalist

    Sikh royalist
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2009
    Messages:
    115
    Likes Received:
    78
    because they feel they are doing their best
     
  11. Lee

    Lee
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Messages:
    495
    Likes Received:
    377

    Heh yes indeed, although it was rather a rhetorical question, thank you for taking the time to answer it.

    It can be a hard line we parents tread sometimes. My kids don't like doing what I ask of them many times, but the diffeance between a teenage son rebeling about doing the washing up, and an adult son telling me 'No I have no wish to marry this woman.' Well it's obviouse really.

    At what age or time of life are our children to make their own decisions for their own lives? That is not a rhetorical question my friend!;)
     
  12. kds1980

    kds1980 India
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2005
    Messages:
    4,504
    Likes Received:
    2,738
    That is the reason smart old parents keep property in their name upto their death.You may be very well that even a small house or flat cost in millions these days.So even if son's don't want to take care of parents they have to O/W their name will be out from the will.even still 80-90% old persons are with their children in India .


    She is close to Guru as long as her health is ok
    On the other hand my parents and other relatives are with their children .Living much better life than her.You and other can say positive but still the reality is she is suffering because of her own decision and She also made her parents suffer as they were worried what will happen to her after their death.
     
  13. jasi

    jasi
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Messages:
    302
    Likes Received:
    274
    Wahe Gur Ji Ka Khalsa Wahe Guru Ji ke Fateh.

    To all my Sikh brothers and sisters. The most important thing is we have 16 years of our children to enrich the basic values to teach which will help them to make their own decisions on all aspect of their lives.

    After 16 years let the grown up teenage decide their own fate in choosing their directions .Yes by all means we can guide them disregard of any cast system basis but of their according to their choices. We are all human being who are blessed with nature to fall in love or liking each others to decide ourselves to spend the rest of life with that partner.

    But parental foundation will be definitely a factor which will play a roll in their decisions making at that time.

    Parents at that point make it sure that they respect the decision taken by their adults sons and daughters under their guidance's.

    Sikhism is enriched with respect for all regardless of age or any cast.



    But still illiteracy,cast system and classicism plays a great role to force some one to marry with their own choices.

    We are still suffering from a cancer like a castism's among all the silkhs who boast themselves to be called sikhs..


    Jaspi
    Canada


     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. gurprit_gujral

    gurprit_gujral
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2004
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    17
    The fault lies with the parents. That the girl fell in love with someone and did not confide with the parents shows the lack of communication between the girl and her parents. The child should be made to realise ( not coerced/forced) what is good and what is bad for her. In any case, in my opinion, she should not be married forcibly.

    Gurprit
     
    • Like Like x 2
  15. kds1980

    kds1980 India
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2005
    Messages:
    4,504
    Likes Received:
    2,738
    In majority of cases the major Force is disowning the children specially the girls.I don't think that there is any law anywhere any country where parents cannot disown their Adult children.If children have right to disobey their parents then parents do have a right to disown them.
     
  16. Lee

    Lee
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Messages:
    495
    Likes Received:
    377

    Yes they certianly do, although I can think of no action that would make any loving parent do so.
     
  17. jasi

    jasi
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Messages:
    302
    Likes Received:
    274
    Yes ,your comments are 100% right. But the basic problems is the illiteracy among our people and uneducated priests to convey the best teachings to the Sangat at large.

    People are left with clear cut awareness of democratic rights and individuals respects.

    Jaspi



    <input id="gwProxy" type="hidden"><!--Session data--><input onclick="jsCall();" id="jsProxy" type="hidden">
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Sikh royalist

    Sikh royalist
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2009
    Messages:
    115
    Likes Received:
    78

    ah i can answer any question at lest i can try to:p

    well for parents kids are kids they always think their children's need their suggestion and it is not that all forced marriages are failure sometimes they are successful time heals everything.in our Indian society such decisions are taken by parents only and i don't think it is bad as long as they dont go against you.
     
  19. Rajbinder35

    Rajbinder35
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    10
    I have read this with interest because I am UK born sikh and was forced to marry at the age of 19 to a 26 year old man. It was difficult because I wanted to go out and have boyfriends etc, however my family were very strict, and I married the man my father selected. I lived my life being told exactly what to do before marriage and whilst I did resist the pressure was so much reluctantly I agreed in the end. Today at the age of 37 today I am delighted that I married my husband and I love him dearly and have a very happy relationship with him. I also have two beautiful sons aged 17 & 15.

    We have lived with his mother for the duration of our marriage. She insists we all live by her rules however her mindset is still in the punjab in the 1960s. I personally stopped being bothered by what she says or does following the sudden death of my father 8 years ago. I decided life was too short and just to please myself because it is impossible to please her with all her demands.

    My husband on the other hand has been in turmoil for a years and is torn between doing what his mother wants or living his life the way he wants to. He has asked me on many occassions to walk out with the kids to teach her, however I have refused to do this. He has said to me that he knows exactly how people get depressed and other associated issues. I have never asked him to move out and leave his mother, as far as I am concerned he is a grown adult and needs to make whatever decisions he wants to and I will support him. However he will never leave her because he is the only son.

    Now my son is 17 and wanting to go out and experience life. My husband is insisting that my son my marries a sikh and lives at home with us, however I do not want anyone living with me because I know how it feels to be an outsider in someone elses house, and I do not want to make anyone feel the way I have felt living with my mother in law.

    I have seen the situation from all angles and I feel that parents must let their children live their lives.

    If parents want their children to marry strangers from the punjab then they should have stayed there and not left India then we all would have lived happily in India having arranged marriages.

    Parents should let their children live their lives and whilst my forced marriage has turned into a nice happy ending. I know I am the one in a million and I do thank god for that, however I do pity all the people who are not as lucky as me.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  20. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
    Expand Collapse
    1947-2014 (Archived)
    SPNer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2004
    Messages:
    14,551
    Likes Received:
    19,200
    Rajbinder ji

    It is so very calming to read your words -- words of someone who has found her center and is peaceful in the eye of many a storm or squall. One thing -- completely off topic -- that I picked up. Do go back to the statement "he knows exactly how people get depressed" and maybe have a talk with your husband. Is he trying to tell you he wants to talk about this?
     
  21. Rajbinder35

    Rajbinder35
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    10
    Dear Narayanjot

    I have talked to my husband many times over the years and I know exactly what my husband wants me to do. He wants me to tell him/make him/force him leave his mother and then everyone can blame me for whatever happens to her and him.

    I have explained to him many times that if I ever leave him it will be because I am actually going to leave him. I refuse to play the power game of frightening his mother to look at her actions, then returning to play happy families and make life easier for my husband. Also what type of message would this behaviour send to my sons?

    Of course if there was anything within my control to make my husbands life easier I would do it. But it is all out of my control, so I just try and live a happy life.
     
    • Like Like x 2

Share This Page