Involuntary arranged marriages

Approximately 70,000 youths aged 16–25 feel that they are not themselves able to make a free choice as to whom they will marry. Of these, 8,500 often experience worry about not being able to choose a partner.

First and foremost girls and young women who experience worry

The Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society’ survey shows that approximately 70,000 youths are at risk of being married to someone against their will. It is first and foremost girls and young women who worry about not being able to choose a partner themselves. Many of these young people also believe that they would be punished by their parents if they were homo- or bisexual.

The questionnaire survey conducted by the Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society shows that in socially deprived areas such as Hjällbo, Araby, Rosengård and Husby, 27 percent of 16–25-year-olds feel that their parents, their religion or their culture restricts their choice of partner, as compared with five percent of this age-group in Sweden as a whole. In Hjällbo, Araby, Rosengård and Husby, 19.4 percent of the females and 13.5 percent of the males experienced worry about not being able to choose whom they would marry.

Linked to norms about female virginity

Forced marriage is linked to norms about female virginity and is used to govern the sexuality of girls and women. The action space of the girls is restricted, and the boys are raised to control their sisters. This affects the entire life situation of the affected youths. For some of them, access to education, work, influence, participation and leisure are greatly restricted. Many of them are subjected to a great deal of both psychological and physical violence.

Definition of marriage against one’s will

The government defines marriage against one’s will as being when “someone is influenced to marry either by unlawful coercion or other forms of pressure.” The term forced marriage refers only to those cases where unlawful coercion is used to make someone marry against their will.

About the mission

Since 2012, the County Administrative Board of Östergötland has been responsible for “Marriage against one’s will”. Parts of the material produced by the Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society are still available.