The Home Office through its Forced Marriage Unit reports that there are around 10,000 forced marriages per year - 8,000 women and 2,000 men - 80%/20%. The BBC reported the situation about men a few years back.
Today it was pre-announced that this barbaric practice was to become illegal (previously it was only an issue in the civil courts, bizarrely) with a full announcement to be made tomorrow (Friday).
However, when you look at the reporting, suddenly those 2,000 men disappear. A clear case of discrimination by ommission against men.
The Press Association only mention 8,000 women which is hugely damaging because often local papers and others just copy and paste the Press Association story. Ed Thomas produces a BBC film that just talks about women even though they previously ran a story about it as highlighted above. ITN do the same.
But is this omission driven by the government forgetting that male victioms exist (even though it is their own figures that state 20% of victims are men - page 26 of this report).The Daily Mail reports the Home Secretary is just stating 8,000 women - has she forgotten the other 2,000?
Also tomorrow the Home Secretary is "expected to announce a £500,000 fund to help schools and other agencies know how to spot early signs of a forced marriage. A Government advertising campaign will also aim to highlight the right to choose who you marry." Will that just aimed at women and girls? Will these campaigns not mention men and boys?
Well let's wait and see what is said tomorrow but if the government follows the media lead then men who are forced into marriage will remain the second class victims in this issue. Ignored and swept under a carpet solely because of their gender - almost as if forced marriage is OK for men but not women?
Posted by Skimmington