Spoons To Help Prevent Forced Marriages

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A new initiative by a school is been backed by a Birmingham woman who was tricked into a forced marriage at the age of 15 wants to stop other teenagers becoming victims.

Now an adult, she was forced to marry a man in Bangladesh when she was 15 after being told she was going on a family holiday.

She spoke out at a school in Leeds who is tackling forced marriages by giving their pupils spoons to hide in their underwear, to trigger airport metal detectors.

This will allow girls to speak privately to security staff when they are taken away to be searched.

The girls at Co-Operative academy in Harehills have all been given spoons to hide in their underwear during the summer holidays as this is the time of year when most victims are spirited out of the country.

A teacher at the school told The Guardian: “In the six-weeks holidays we know there is no contact between school and the family, and families have that opportunity to go abroad, get their child married and come back.

“It’s a way of making our children aware there is a safety net there.”

The school is working with the charity, Karma Nirvana, which campaigns against problems such as “honour”-based abuse and forced marriage.

The Birmingham woman said when it happened to her it was less well known so she was missing from school for a whole year before it was chased up.

“Abuse is abuse, full stop – we need to make sure kids know what abuse is, so people can’t just say it’s my religion,” she said.

“It’s all about education. We need to give these kids a pep talk and get it onto the curriculum.

“When it’s happening to you, you are afraid to talk about it, you think it must be part of my religion, part of my culture and so it’s fine.

“But you know it’s not fine, you know what’s wrong is wrong, regardless of culture and religion.”

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