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Teachers: PSHE: Relationships

Last Updated: Tuesday November 09 2004 13:30 GMT

Forced marriages

PSHE 11-14/KS3/Levels E&F


Wedding rings
Rupali ran away from her family after she was forced to get married. With the help of the children's charity Barnardos she's started a new life.

Students look at the difference between forced and arranged marriages and role play some of the issues.

Learning aims

  • The difference between a forced marriage and an arranged marriage
  • Why forced marriages occur


    Ask students: What is the difference between a forced marriage and an arranged marriage?
    An arranged marriage is when two families come together and they discuss the marriage with the two people involved. The parents then give them the choice on whether they want to get married or not. In a forced marriage, the people getting married do not have any choice. The force doesn't have to be physical, it can be verbal or even emotional.

    Click here to read the Press Pack:

    Ask students:

  • Do you think Rupali is her real name? No. She's was so scared her family would find her she changed her name.

  • Why do you think Rupali's family wanted to marry her off? Tradition, parents know what's best, protection, honour and reputation, financial reasons. It's not really a religious issue. Christian, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh marriages all require both the bride and groom to fully consent to the wedding.

  • Why do you think Rupali says her forced marriage "ruined" her life? No choice, emotional blackmail, losing contact with family and friends, betrayal of trust, living in a strange place, not being able to live at home.

    Main activity

    In groups of three, students create a role play about forced marriages.


    A is a parent. They make a list of five reasons why their son or daughter should marry a husband or wife of their choosing.
    E.g. The person I have chosen is the son or daughter of my best friend and is bound to make a good husband or wife.

    For inspiration, students could look at this page of our Guide to forced marriages:

    B is a son or daughter. They make a list of five reasons why they don't want be forced into marriage.
    E.g. I want to be able to make my own choice about the person I marry.

    C works for a charity that tries to educate people about forced marriages. They read this advice and make a note of any persuasive arguments:

    Role play

    The parents and son or daughter have agreed to meet with the advisor from the charity to discuss the proposed marriage.

    Using the lists of reasons and notes, students role play the meeting. C should listen to both sides of the argument, before making a comment.

    The aim is to reach an agreement. Perhaps the parent could be persuaded to consider an arranged marriage, where there is a degree of choice, rather than a forced marriage, where there is no choice.

    Extension activity

    Students record or script their role play.


    Each student decides on the most important line they said in the role-play.

    Students line up in two lines facing one another to form a human corridor.

    The teacher walks slowly down the middle. As they pass each pair, the students say their chosen line.

    By the time the teacher gets to the end of the corridor, the class will have a flavour of all the different aspects involved in forced marriages.

    For the human corridor exercise to work well, you may need to repeat it a couple of times.

    Recap on the difference between forced marriages and arranged marriages.

    Teachers' background

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