A film by Anna Hall with Karma Nirvana (UK/2015/47:00)
In the year since forced marriages became illegal in the United Kingdom, this extraordinary film reveals the horrifying truth that in 2015 young British people are fleeing the curse of forced marriages, and the lifetime of abuse that follows. We follow the police as they desperately try to enforce a law that means children must turn on their parents to secure convictions. At the center of the film is the staggering bravery of the victims who want to raise awareness of this deeply hidden world.
About Anna Hall & Director's Statement
Award-winning filmmaker Anna Hall teamed up with national honor-based abuse charity Karma Nirvana and the Public Protection Teams at Greater Manchester Police to follow, the first year after it became illegal in the United Kingdom, to force someone into marriage. What the team found was truly shocking: schoolgirls regularly calling the police for help, saying that their families were threatening to kill them if they did not go ahead with a pre-planned marriage. The team painstakingly worked with front-line officers and one day received a call from a girl who said, "the police said you want to talk to me. You can talk to me. I think it's really important that other kids know they've got a choice." This extraordinarily brave woman allowed our cameras to follow her, not only as she talked to the police but also as she returned home to collect her belongings with the officer reminding her it could be the last time she saw her father. In one of the most shocking scenes in the film, her father says, "you can hit your wife and your sons but you can't hit your daughters," as his defense. The film also follows the largest single case of child protection against possible Forced Marriage that Greater Manchester Police have ever seen, with 15 children in one extended family who needed to be protected. This film shows that the abuse against women and children, of forcing them into a lifetime of slavery and often domestic violence in a forced marriage, is alive and well in the United Kingdom, despite the new legislation.