Letter: Weddings that ruin lives

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The Independent Online
IT IS not arranged marriages that cause misery but the fact that a couple enter a marriage which is unacceptable to them ('Asian men say no to the misery of arranged marriage', 16 May).

An arranged marriage merely means that the couple have been introduced through a marriage bureau or by a relative or a friend. Both partners can turn down as many prospective spouses as they want. The divorce rate among Asians is much lower, marriage is considered a commitment for life as a divorced woman is at a great disadvantage in Asian society.

However, we are aware that in Britain a number of marriages are taking place under duress. The parents are exerting pressure on their children to marry within their own community. A father might say that he will never speak to his daughter again or worse, that he disowns her. Sometimes, to get the pressure off, the girls go through the marriage and then immediately leave the husband. The girl's family can then legitimately tell the husband's family that it is their fault that their daughter left. It is crass hypocrisy but it happens all the time.

I am glad that men are saying no to unacceptable arranged marriages but please, why not say it before the marriage and not ruin some innocent girl's life?

Rani Atma

Asian Family Counselling Service

London W13

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