Government in England to Make Forced Marriage A Crime

August 1, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. criminalize (v.) 
[krim-uh-nl-ahyz] – to make an act punishable by the law; to make something illegal
Example:  The city government announced it will criminalize smoking in public places.

2. jail time (n. phrase) [jeyl tahym] – the time spent in prison
Example: A criminal’s jail time depends on the seriousness of his crime.

3. abhorrence (n.) [ab-hawr-uhns, -hor-] – strong hatred or dislike of something
Example: The law against slavery resulted from the government’s abhorrence of human rights’ abuses.

4. spouse (n.) [spous, spouz] – a person’s partner in marriage
Example: One should be careful in choosing the right person to become his or her spouse.

5. discourage (v.) [dih-skur-ij, -skuhr-] – to  make someone not want to continue with an activity
Example:   The government discourages people from doing crimes by creating punishments.

Read the text below.

A new law in England and Wales will criminalize and punish parents who are guilty of forcing their children to marry. Those who commit this offense will be punished with jail time of about two years.

UK prime minister David Cameron strongly believes forced marriage is similar to slavery. Home Secretary Theresa May also expressed her abhorrence of forced marriage. She said making it illegal will show that the government does not take this crime lightly.

She said that a £500,000 fund will be dedicated to raise awareness in schools and other agencies. The government will also start an advertising campaign that will emphasize the right to choose a spouse.

The new law will also differentiate forced marriage from arranged marriage. In arranged marriage, individuals still have the choice to continue or to refuse the union.

Critics of the forced marriage law say that it might discourage victims from reporting their guilty relatives because victims would not want their family members to have criminal records.  However, Cameron has stated that careful protection and support would be given for victims in each case, and when possible, criminal charges would also be avoided.

The law is well-accepted by Freedom, a charity that is strongly against abuse and forced marriage. Freedom’s founder Aneeta Prem said human rights are violated by forced marriage and it can also result in other serious crimes such as kidnapping, rape and murder.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Why do you think some parents force their children into marriage?
·         How do you think parents should help their children when it comes to marriage? Should parents still help their children choose spouses? Why or why not?
Discussion B

·         Do you believe that being “in love” is necessary for a good marriage? Why or why not? What other factors should two people consider before getting married?
·         Can you give some reasons why marriage is important?

August 1, 2012