Support Efforts to End Forced Marriage


Target: Natasha Rattu, Operations Manager of Karma Nirvana

Goal: Support programs that aid women being forced into marriage

A charity in the United Kingdom has recently come out with plans for how to save victims of forced marriage. These plans are in response to a high number of forced marriages happening in Britain.

Karma Nirvana, a charity in the United Kingdom, has issued a statement telling victims of forced marriage to put a spoon in their underwear when going through airport security so that they will be taken away from their parents to be addressed by security. When this happens, victims have one last opportunity to report their forced marriage without the presence of their parents. This method is particularly effective because the majority of forced marriages, while orchestrated within the country, take place elsewhere.

Karma Nirvana says it receives nearly 7,000 calls each year from victims of forced marriage, and the number is rising as the non-profit continues to publicize their work. Victims of forced marriage, usually women, are often not aware that they will be meeting the person that their parents will force them to marry. The majority of victims, additionally, are unable to refuse the marriage because of the repercussions within the family. Honor killings often result from refusal to agree to a forced marriage, and victims of forced arranged marriages often find it impossible to address the issue with their parents or families because of the expectations of the family. It is for this reason that the spoon tactic is particularly effective, as it is a small action that might allow a victim of forced marriage to escape without having to address the family directly.

Forced marriages are not only happening in the United Kingdom. A study in 2011 in the United States showed that about 3,000 known or suspected cases of forced marriage had happened in two years, not including the cases of forced marriage that were not reported. Many worry that not enough is being done to raise awareness about forced marriages or to stop the marriages from taking place. For this reason, it is important to support the efforts of groups like Karma Nirvana, as well as other groups that exist in the United Kingdom and in the United States.

By signing the petition below you will be supporting the work of Karma Nirvana to end forced marriages.


Dear Natasha Rattu,

Many individuals believe that forced marriages are a part of history that does not continue in today’s society, and certainly not in the United Kingdom or the United States. It is imperative to raise awareness about the unfortunate prevalence of forced marriages in both of these countries so as to put an end to this often abusive practice.

I am writing you to praise you for your work supporting victims of forced marriages. While there are some individuals who willingly enter arranged marriages, the work of Karma Nirvana works specifically to aid those who feel that they are being forced into a marriage that they do not want. Protecting those who fear their own families or honor killings if they turn down an arranged marriage is imperative, and your work is extremely important in providing security for victims of forced marriage.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Jeff Belmonte via Wikimedia Commons

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