Forced Marriages in Germany More Prevalent than Thought

Source: Spiegel Intenational

A new study has revealed that thousands of young women and girls in forced marriages seek help every year in Germany. The vast majority of victims come from Muslim families, and many have been threatened with violence or even death. The numbers involved are much higher than previously suspected.

More women and girls living in Germany are being forced into marriage under the threat of violence than previously thought, according to a new study released by the German government on Wednesday.

In 2008, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 3,443 people sought help at counseling and information centers because they had already been, or were being, forced into marriage. The vast majority of those victims were women or girls, but 6 percent were young men, who, like many of the women, sought help because they were threatened with violence if they did not go through with the marriage.

The new study was presented Wednesday in Berlin by Family Minister Kristina Schröder and the federal integration commissioner, Maria Böhmer, both members of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union. “Those who force their children against their will to marry someone they don’t love, or who is a complete stranger, are committing brutal violence against them,” Schröder said in a statement.

The German human rights organization Terre des Femmes had previously estimated that in Germany more than a thousand women and girls from immigrant families seek help from counseling centers each year. Schröder has called for the issue of forced marriage to be discussed more in German schools.

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Categories: Germany, Women Rights

3 replies

  1. Forced marriages are taking place in different nationalities and the majority are from muslim families. Muslim parents are less likely to agree to racial intermarriages even with muslims from other ethnic background. They are looking for someone with a similar family and cultural background.. it appears culure is important. At this delicate age, the boy or girl’s priority is whether they like the person. The new law will allow the girl or boy to choose as they please or it will be termed as a ‘forced’ marriage.

  2. Among people from Kosovo we find little cultural differences between Catholics and Muslims. A Catholic girl had to be ‘rescued’ from her family in Switzerland because she wanted to marry a Swiss instead of the Kosovar wished for by the parents. She could not find ‘refuge’ with her other (Catholic) relatives in Kosovo either. She found refuge in an Orthodox monastery for the time being (I do not know how the story ended…).

  3. When I first researched about Islamic marriage I realized how simple and liberal an Islamic marriage is and yet it brings along a host of responsibilities and obligations.

    Forced marriage is not a valid marriage in Islam. Partners have the right to know each other and see each other. Nikkah is a mutual contract and not valid without consents of both partners. Nikkah can be a written or even an oral contract. Partners can include conditions. A man can marry any girl from People of Book. One can marry at any age when he or she feels ready both sexually and mentally. A woman or man may propose marriage directly or through an intermediary.

    Therefore forced marriages have a cultural rather religious background and media should be careful to label them as Islamic or Muslim marriages.

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