Young marriages

January 19th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Amelia Wade in NZ Herald reports:

Almost 800 girls under 18 were married in New Zealand in the past decade, and women’s rights activists believe a number of those marriages were against the will of the brides.

It is not illegal for 16 and 17-year-olds to marry with parental consent but activists suggest a number of those marriages are forced by the parents.

I wonder how many 16 and 17 year olds boys got married?

National MP Jackie Blue has drafted a private member’s bill which she hopes would help provide extra support for young women under pressure to marry.

Dr Blue’s bill would make it illegal for anyone under 18 years old to wed without first formalising their consent before a Family Court judge.

“I believe the majority of marriages under 18 are fine and above board, but this would just give an extra level of protection for those who are being forced to do it against their will,” she said.

This seems a good bill to me. I can’t imagine what harm is done by requiring a 16 year old to either wait until they are 18 before they marry – or having a judge ensure the bride is a willing participant.

Stopping forced marriages

November 13th, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Marika Hill at Stuff reports:

After hearing of a distraught school girl forced to marry by her parents, National MP Jackie Blue knew she couldn’t stand by and do nothing.

The 100 teenagers – most of them school girls – who marry each year in New Zealand would require a court’s permission to walk down the aisle under Dr Blue’s proposed amendment to the Marriage Act.

Marriage under the age of 16 is illegal in New Zealand, but 16 and 17-year-olds can marry with parental consent.

More than 1000 teenagers gained consent to marry over the past decade, according to Statistics New Zealand.

Four out of five of those were female.

Dr Blue said only a small number of teenage nuptials would be marriages forced upon girls for cultural reasons.

“The majority are probably quite legitimate, but the majority of those minors are young girls. I can’t not do anything. If it saves one young girl it’s going to be worth it.”

I think this is a good idea. A 16 or 17-year-old is still officially a minor and is far more likely to be able to be coerced by their parents.

Yes some 16 and 17 years olds want to marry on their own initiative. But I don’t think the proposed change really disadvantages them. Either they merely have to wait until they are 18 (they can be engaged until then) or they get the permission of the court which will check the marriage is truly desired.

The idea I think is that it will discourage parents from forcing their child into an arranged marriage if they know a Judge will question their child on whether they really want it.

This is not a huge problem in NZ, but I don’t see the proposed law at having much downsides, and if it saves even a handful of young girls for a forced marriage then it is worthwhile.

Barbarism in NZ and Canada

January 31st, 2012 at 4:18 pm by David Farrar

In my blog at Stuff I blog:

I doubt I was the only person upset and angered at the story of the 17-year-old girl in Wellington whose parents tricked her into a forced marriage. She was imprisoned at home for several months, until she escaped.

Her parents have gone back to Pakistan, but the father is reported to have said he would kill her if he saw her again.

Sadly this can’t just be dismissed as hyperbole. Canada has just had a conclusion to a trial in which a father, with help from other family members, killed his three daughters and one of his wives. This was a so-called “honour” killing. Of course honour had nothing to so with it. Secret wiretaps revealed the father saying “God curse their generation, they were filthy and rotten children,” and “To hell with them and their boyfriends, may the devil s**t on their graves.”

The 17-year-old girl in Wellington may be lucky she escaped such a fate. As New Zealanders, we need to ask ourselves what we can do to minimise this occuring in New Zealand.

You can comment over at Stuff on my thoughts on how we can minimise this.


A NZ forced marriage

January 30th, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

A ghastly story at Stuff:

For months, in an ordinary house in a Wellington suburb, a 17-year-old Pakistani was held hostage, trapped in a marriage forced on her by her parents and threatened with death.

The woman, who does not want to be identified, was married in 2010 without her consent or knowledge after her Muslim parents learned she had a Hindu boyfriend and became concerned she was too westernised.

If they think she was too westernised, they should not have moved to New Zealand.

The Wellington teenager refused to go ahead with the marriage, despite months of family threats of deportation and violence.

Then her parents took her to the Internal Affairs Department to sign what they said were visa documents but which she later found were marriage papers.

That night a ceremony was held at her parents’ home. She was told it was an engagement ceremony and, if she did not attend, she would be deported. After the ceremony she said her father told her she was married and was to go to her husband’s house in Newtown with him that night.

“I was crying all day and night. I didn’t want to get married. I don’t think any 17-year-old girl would want to get married.

“I was freaking out. I was still in shock and told the guy not to touch me. He was trying to be forceful to me sexually but, when I warned him about the police, he backed off.”

Smart girl. Smart guy also for backing off, realising we have rape laws.

For two months she was held in a kind of prison with her husband and his family. They would not let her leave the house or use the phone and always supervised her. They demanded she sleep with her new husband and have a baby.

Her own parents visited once a week but barely spoke to her.

She finally did escape, and went to the police and ethnic women’s support organisation Shakti. Her marriage has since been annulled and her parents have gone back to Pakistan.

Before leaving, her father told her he would kill her if he saw her again. “I wanted to die. My dad was saying that to his own daughter, I couldn’t believe it.”

I’m glad the parents have left, as they should be deported if they had not. I also think her “husband’s” family should be checked out. There is no room in New Zealand for people who condone forced marriages.

I don’t think our immigration laws should discriminate on the basis of religion (well except scientologists 🙂 but I do think we need to make very clear to potential immigrants that there are certain aspects of New Zealand culture and laws which are important to New Zealanders such as separation of state and religion, equal rights for women, no forced marriages, democracy, freedom of expression etc etc. And equally the message should go out that if you have a huge problem with any of these things, then you might not want to live here.

I just hope the poor 17 year old girl prospers in New Zealand, despite being abandoned by her family.


January 10th, 2010 at 12:28 pm by David Farrar

The SST reports:

A RELUCTANT young New Zealand bride has allegedly been punched, abducted and held against her will by her mother to force her to honour her marriage vows and have sex with her groom.

That is rape, married or not.

The teenager’s family was given dowry of a large pig and expensive mats to marry her husband, who is understood to be almost twice her age.

Her mother and a man understood to be her stepfather have been charged with unlawfully detaining her over the course of two days, allegedly to force her to be the groom’s wife and to force her to have sex with him.

The girl, of Tongan descent, is understood to be about 17 years old, but the family cannot be named for legal reasons.

Bad enough to be traded like property, for a dowry, but I’d be pretty pissed off is all I was worth was a large pig and some mats.

The girl’s mother has also been charged with assaulting her on two separate occasions over the marriage matter. It is claimed that the mother punched her daughter with a closed fist, but the girl managed to deflect most of the blows.

Guess she hasn’t read Section 59.

A source close to the family said the girl did not want to marry the man, but an agreement was reached between the two families and she was obliged to honour it.

No she isn’t. Maybe in Tonga, but not in New Zealand.

On her wedding night last year she ran away to her boyfriend, understood to be the groom’s son.

Oh dear, that just makes it worse. Here’s a novel idea – let a 17 year old date whomever she wants, and marry whomever she wants once she is ready and wants to. Don’t treat a daughter as a chattel.

The Sunday Star-Times was told by a community source that when a young woman is married, it is customary for the family to inspect the sheets the day after the wedding to establish her virginity has been taken.

Good God – that was done 2,000 years ago also. Time to join the modern world. Plus it is a crap test. If a girl has ridden horses (for example) her hymen may well have gone even though she is a virgin.

It is understood the young bride ran away to avoid having sex with the man. Police were alerted to the case when she went to court to seek a restraining order against her mother.

Good on her. Thank God she knows her rights.