UNDERSTANDING FORCED MARRIAGE AND UNIVERSITY RESPONSES
Society for Research into Higher Education
Date – Thursday 8 May 2014: 11.30 – 15.45
Venue – SRHE, 73 Collier Street, LondonN1 9BE
Network – Access and Widening Participation Network
Understanding Forced Marriage: Khatidja Chantler
Drawing on the qualitative components of a research study completed in 2007, this paper presents four key challenges in the forced marriage debate. First, the study illustrates the problematic of defining forced marriage as a distinct and discrete category from arranged marriage. Second, current conceptualisations of forced marriage focus on consent at the entry point into marriage in contrast to survivors of forced marriage, and women’s organisations experienced in providing services to this group, both who attach equal importance to exiting (forced) marriages. Third, within the forced marriage debate, South Asian and Muslim communities are perceived as being largely responsible for forced marriages, whilst our research demonstrates that the range of communities in which forced marriage occurs is much wider. Fourth, forced marriage is often seen as a product of a ‘backward’ culture or religion and bound up with notions of ‘honour’. The narratives of survivors in our study illustrate a much more complex picture in which the interplay between culture, religion, poverty, gender, sexuality and state practices are highly significant in pathways to forced marriage.
Khatidja Chantler is currently a Reader in the School of Social Work at the University of Central Lancashire, having previously worked at the University of Manchester. My key research interests are around ‘race’ and gender, particularly in relation to violence against women and their intersections with mental health. Prior to academia, I worked in social services and the voluntary sector settings and am also a qualified counsellor and supervisor. Publications include: British, European and International journal articles; book chapters and co-authored books: Attempted Suicide and Self-harm: South Asian Women (2001); Domestic Violence and Minoritisation (2002) and a co-edited the book Gender & Migration: Feminist Interventions (2010).
University responses to forced marriage and violence against women: Renate Klein and Marilyn Freeman
This talk examines how British universities address incidents of violence against female students, including forced marriage. Interviews with university staff members focused on whether cases of violence against women or forced marriage are coming to the attention of staff, whether staff members feel equipped to deal with them, and whether universities pursue systematic strategies to address theses issues. The goal was to identify what is working well, what could be better, and how universities could become more proactive. Findings suggest that comprehensive institutional responses are rare and that support for students depends largely on the initiative of individual staff members who may or may not have specialist expertise. Misconceptions about disclosure dynamics were common, in particular with regard to FM. In addition to the interviews, keyword searches of the public pages of university websites suggested that as a topic of research or teaching violence against women is often highly visible, whereas as an issue of university policy or governance it remains nearly invisible.
Renate Klein works for LondonMetropolitanUniversity and the University of Maine, USA, and co-ordinates a European research network on gender and violence. Her recent books include an edited international volume on Framing sexual and domestic violence through language (2013), Palgrave Macmillan, and a monographResponding to intimate violence against women: The role of informal networks (2012). CambridgeUniversity Press.
Marilyn Freeman is Emeritus Professor at LondonMetropolitanUniversity, and Co-Director of The International Centre of Family Law, Policy and Practice. Her specialist areas of research relate to international family law and include child abduction, relocation, and forced marriage.
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