Arranged Marriage – An Archaic And Wrong Institution

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The concept of an arranged marriage is something entirely alien to us in the Western world. Especially to the age bracket which I am in (13-18). The idea that someone other than myself could ever possibly decide or dictate who I would date, let alone marry, seems entirely baffling, intrusive and morally wrong. However this is the case for 60% of the globe. Sixty percent. A majority of all marriages universally are arranged out with the husband and wife. In India alone 90% of all marriages are arranged. This statistic may seem strange to us but clearly it is the norm for those living in Eastern cultures. This essay intends to look at the merit of arranged marriages and fundamentally prove how archaic and wrong this institution is.

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Forced marriages are not the same as any other marriages, the male and female have no opinion on who they marry it’s their families that take the lead and choose who they think will be best for their daughter or son. It mostly happens in Eastern countries e.g. India, Pakistan and many other countries. For many arranged marriages, the family thinks about the wealth of the suitor and puts that first. Some children that don’t consent get cut off from their family and will get asked to leave their family home. This is very shocking as girls aged 13-18 have been forced into getting married at young ages and are not able to have the life they dreamt of. The fact that girls my age (14) are being sold away and getting married is so uncomfortable to consider. I myself do not feel in any way ready to get married – a career, a car and eventually my own home are far greater priorities than a marriage, even a marriage that I chose. In the last couple of years the percentage has went up to 53.25% for worldwide arranged marriages, the divorce rate is at 6.3% this shows that many of the marriages are in actual fact successful – but I question whether that is true happiness or merely because they do not want to displease their families at all.

Furthermore, often it is not just culturally the norm to marry within an arrangement but actually due to a number of different religions. Religions that believe in arranged marriages are Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism. Arranged marriages aren’t illegal and the bride and groom both have the right to consent; consanguineous marriages are against the law in many parts of the United States and Europe. Arranged marriage is illegal in all the USA, forced marriage is now a crime – this was made illegal in 16th June 2014. In 2012 the statistics of divorce was 6%; this low percentage shows that arranged marriages are successful and do work out, to an extent. Even though the statistics are very low this could mean that people aren’t actually happy about being in one but they are scared as they are forced to go into one and feel as though they can’t leave it. If you disobey a forced marriage protection order, this can result in a sentence of 5 years in prison. While in an arranged marriages the male and female tend to fall in love while time goes on but this compared to marriages in the UK these usually end up getting divorced as they feel less love for one another as time goes on. The statistic concerning divorce in “loved” marriages is a staggering 55%; this indicates that arrange marriages are arguably far more successful. But I would argue there isn’t enough research into this to see if people are actually happy about being in an arranged marriage or else just feeling trapped and unable to do anything about it. If we look closely at a case study of an individual who has suffered through such experiences, perhaps we can better understand what it is like to endure it.

Jasmine (not her real name) was aged 13 years old when she started to notice things were different at home and in everything in her life. She said ‘everyone was coming round with sweets and celebrating’ – she thought it was just a normal family holiday but soon came to notice when everyone kept saying ‘Do you like your cousin then?’ She also says ‘they were asking me things that I didn’t even speak to my mum about and I had said it was very awkward but they kept persisting.’ She also said that throughout secondary school ‘her mum used to slap her, pull her hair and she was never allowed to go on school trips or spend time with her friends as there could be boys there.’ Jasmine was only 16 when she heard her mum on the phone talking about Asia; at this point she was old enough to recognise it wasn’t the planning of a simple family trip, but instead plans were evolving surrounding her upcoming arranged marriage. Jasmine opened up to the teachers at her school and told them what’s going on; they phoned the social services and police to tell them what’s going on, and after long court proceedings, Jasmine was granted a forced marriage order and isn’t allowed to be taken out the country. This case study shows that this girl Jasmine has stood up and defied her own family to speak out and get help from the terrible time she has went through from arranged marriage, She has clearly went through a hard time and stood up and fought for this court case and is wanting people to know and maybe more women or even children will stand up for themselves and get the help that they need and want.

The concept of an arranged marriage is something entirely alien to us in the Western world. In the age of most of the girls getting married I would never put myself in that situation and would hope my family wouldn’t but these girls are getting married and even though the statistics are at 53.25% and the divorce rate is 6% this shows that arranged marriages might not even be successful just the girls/women in these relationships are too afraid may you say to speak out. 

16 August 2021

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