It is easy to assume that in this day and age something like forced marriage would be a thing of the past. It isn’t. Today there are still numerous reports of young girls and boys being forced into matrimony against their will, too afraid to refuse for fear of becoming a victim of an honour based crime.
Shame by Jasvinder Sanghera is a shockingly honest and open book that tells the true-story that was in fact the reality for Jasvinder.
At just fourteen years old, Jasvinder was handed a photo of a strange man, he was the man that her family had chosen to be her husband. Understandably she was terrified, her family has already married off her sisters in arranged matches and Jasvinder had seen the horrendous treatment they had suffered, the torment and anguish they faced on a daily basis.
At just fourteen, Jasvinder knew this was not a life she could live, she did the only thing that she could conceive to avoid this future that had been picked for her, she ran away. Her parents not only had decided this fate for their teenage daughter, they then disowned her.
Forced marriages can lead to such terrible realities for young children who have no choice but to follow their parents wishes, family honour is held above all else in a world where these children are suffocated by the control of their parents and then of course their husbands. There have been many reports that show children who bring shame upon their families are treated with violent contempt and subjected to horrendous torture and even murdered in the name of family honour.
Shame is Jasvinder’s tale, her success, her triumph over a life that was cruel, oppressive and governed by this honour code. Frank, honest and open, her story is one of desperation in a day and age where such barbaric practices should be completely a thing of the past. Harrowing, moving and full of courage, Shame is a distressing read due to its nature, but it is much more than that, it is an inspiration and serves to show others in Jasvinder’s situation that there is life beyond forced marriage, there is help out there and safety. Now honoured in the true sense of the word with a CBE, Jasvinder is an truly inspiring woman, having won a number of awards and helping to bring the subject of forced marriage into the public eye.
Published by Hodder for £9.99 (RRP)