In May this year, a Scottish court issued a forced marriage protection order to the parents of a 21-year-old Indian woman whose parents were coercing her to marry.
The girl was raised a Catholic and was studying in the UK when her parents told her she must marry a 28-year-old American man and if she refused she would shame the family.
The parents told her: “After study every girl should marry”.
Despite her protests that she was too young and wanted to study, the girl’s parents bought her a flight ticket to India and so she fled her university in England and travelled to Liverpool where she planned to drown herself.
She wrote a number of suicide notes but when she went to the docks, she couldn’t go through with it and fled to Glasgow to be near some friends there.
But she was so distressed, she suffered a nervous breakdown and was ultimately admitted to a mental health facility in Glasgow.
Her parents used methods including subterfuge to access her personal details and track her address when she was released from hospital.
And so she applied for asylum and a forced marriage protection order which was issued by Glasgow Sheriff Court and prevented her parents from contacting her or attempting to take her abroad.
Such help was not available to forced marriage victim Sameem Ali, who was taken from her home in Glasgow aged 13 to marry a man in Pakistan.
In her book Belonging, Sameem chronicled how her mother took her to Pakistan where she was forced to marry a complete stranger.
She didn’t know anything about sex and found it emotionally and physically painful. Sameem tried to kill herself by taking an overdose but woke up two days later.
When pregnant within months of her marriage, she was made to return to Glasgow where her mother told doctors she had become pregnant sleeping around.
Sameem was treated as a slave, beaten and controlled by her own family and her in-laws and only escaped when she met a young man who helped to rescue her.
Six weeks later she married the young man, Osghar, and they fled to England, but it later emerged her family had sent two men to kidnap and kill her.
By chance they were caught by police in a stop check.
Sameem said: “I would probably be dead now if they hadn’t been caught.”
Sameem’s marriage was happy and she became a councillor in Manchester and a campaigner against forced marriage.
She said:” It is still happening today. Girls being forced to marry and many dying in the name of honour.
“We must do everything in our power to make it stop.”
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