When arranged marriage is forced marriage

(Photo via muhammadalzekri.wordpress.com)

Go pick up this boy from baggage claim. You’re marrying him tonight.

In the words of American rock musician, Meatloaf, “I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that.” As in, I won’t be forced into an arranged marriage.

A 16-year-old girl in Australia went to court in April (the story was just revealed to the press on Friday) to prevent her parents from sending her to Lebanon for a forced marriage, according to AFP.

The Federal Magistrates’ Court ruled that the parents of the teenager, who cannot be named, could not remove or attempt to remove their daughter from the country to marry the young man she has met only once.

Magistrate Joe Harman also ordered that the parents not assault, molest, harass, threaten or otherwise intimidate the girl or take her out of school.

Clever girl. I bet dinner at her house tonight will be beyond AWKWARD.

But the bartering of human beings is not a joke.

Though an unfortunate situation, the Australian girl still benefits from something Lebanese women do not: a civil court that assures equality between the sexes. The rights of women in religious courts are simply not applied evenly and clearly.

Certainly, a Lebanese woman has the “right” to reject an arranged marriage, though many don’t consider this an option because it involves challenging the authority of the family and possibly being rejected by them in return. Through a complex web of obligations, Lebanese are fundamentally bound to kinship ties. Certainly, it’s a form of protection, but it can also translate into essential servitude. So what’s worse:  living a life you hate, or living a life without your family and having virtually no support system to fall back on?

An arranged marriage is not about personal happiness, it’s about sacrificing your own happiness for that of your family.

I’m all for bossing your kids around like pseudo-slaves and dressing them up in silly outfits for the sheer enjoyment of it all, but forcing your daughter to marry another man like it’s a bank transaction is selfish and abhorrent.

“You’re such a pretty girl, why aren’t you married yet?”

Because I’ve got 99 problems and a dude ain’t one…

And I’m waiting to meet a guy I actually like.

I’ve done this so many times, by the way…

(Photo via reddit, from i.imgur.com)

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