A teenager “wept” during a forced marriage ceremony in Pakistan to the man who had impregnated her years before as a 13-year-old child, Birmingham Crown Court heard.
In circumstances similar to another ongoing forced marriage trial, the teenager was allegedly duped into going on a family holiday to Pakistan while her mother conspired to force her into marrying a relative against her will.
The Birmingham woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the court that she was ordered to marry the Pakistani national, who is 16 years her senior, almost immediately after she finished cutting her birthday cake, reports BirminghamLive.
“I started crying to my mum, saying ‘I don’t want to get married,’ but apparently it was organised before and she couldn’t do anything about it because her reputation would go down,” the 19-year-old told the jury on Monday.
Days after her 18th birthday in August 2016, the young woman wept during her wedding and told the Pakistani imam officiating the ceremony that her mother was forcing her to marry. Her mother, who also cannot be named, then led her to another room to meet her “husband”.
The crown has described the young woman as being highly vulnerable with special education needs.
Alleged Forced Marriage Victim Ran ‘Screaming’ from Family During Rescue https://t.co/pjVc1p2XEH
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 15, 2018
“I was upset because I didn’t really want to get married to him because I was already in a relationship with someone else,” she added.
“After everything that happened with him when I was 13, I didn’t exactly want to marry someone like that, and he was a lot older than me.”
Birmingham Crown Court heard last week that in 2012 on a previous visit to Pakistan, an imam oversaw the betrothal between the then-13-year-old girl and a 29-year-old man should would later be forced to marry.
Her “fiance”, who is her stepfather’s nephew, raped the child that night. On the family’s return to the UK, she found she was pregnant and an abortion was arranged.
Traumatised by the rape and abortion, the girl turned to alcohol and drugs and was taken into emergency foster care. She then became vulnerable to child sexual exploitation, was raped again, and had a second abortion.
Wiping away tears, the young woman told Birmingham Crown Court that she felt she was an “object that could be moved from place to place”.
Describing her isolation and vulnerability, she said: “I knew I was in Pakistan. I had nowhere to go. I had to do whatever was asked.”
Authorities became involved after the young woman returned to the UK shortly after her marriage. Her mother faces two charges related to forced marriage, a third charge of perjury, and a fourth charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice. The trial is ongoing.
Another Female Genital Mutilation Case Fails, Zero Convictions in 33 Years https://t.co/iLQ0aUfkIM
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 23, 2018
Breitbart London reported Tuesday of an ongoing trial of a woman who claims her parents tricked her into going on a family holiday to Bangladesh with the purpose of forcing her to marry. This time, the British Consulate intervened before the marriage and the court heard that the teenager ran “screaming” from her family during her rescue.
To date, only one forced marriage case in England has led to a prosecution.
This is despite the government’s Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) identifying more than 8,000 cases since 2010 and logging nearly 1,200 forced marriages last year alone, with the organisation saying that number “may not reflect the full scale of the abuse”.
More than one third – 439 – of the forced marriages either took place or were due to take place in Pakistan, followed by Bangladesh with 129 reports in 2017.
Cases of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), also commonly associated with Islamic culture, have resulted in not one single conviction in the UK.