Silencing and Forced Marriage

A deeply depressing story.  12 year old Ruksana complained to UK police when her parents said they were going to force her into an unwanted marriage. They came to her house to discuss it with the whole family, and told her not to worry– thus alerting her parents that she had talked to the police, whereupon they moved her elsewhere. She complained again, with a similar response, and eventually was forced into a marriage, forced out of education, and raped. As she says:

“White kids can call Childline and they get listened to – but for Asian children it’s thought of as wrong to complain.” 

Ruksana is, however, hopeful (let’s hope she’s right):

Because of the publicity about forced marriages I think they would take you a bit more seriously now. 

For the nerds among you, there’s arguably both locutionary and perlocutionary silencing going on indicated in Ruksana’s first quote. Asians don’t think they should complain (locutionary), and they aren’t taken seriously when they do (perlocutionary). Depending your views on felicity conditions for complaining, there may also be illocutionary silencing going on. For a quick intro to these silencing issues, see here. (Thanks, Jender-Parents!)

2 thoughts on “Silencing and Forced Marriage

  1. I thought I had read the article your last link takes one to, but I had missed a lot of it. It’s a really valuable piece. Thanks for the link!

  2. I believe it was yesterday that I saw yet another story about children getting taken from their parents by British authorities on what seemed like slim grounds, at least in comparison to this story.

    I am wondering whether in a case like the present one, one could distinguish between racist reactions and something more like cultural ones. Perhaps it would be the difference between the authorities thinking something like “these people aren’t worth the effort” and “who knows what’s really going on in these mysterious cultures.” I don’t know, but it seems to me a significant moral difference, and so worth raising.

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