Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Being forced to marry

Dear Sam,

I am a Muslim and I will be forced into a marriage in 2 years, they verbally abuse me and on rare occasions physically as well, I am very unhappy and not sure what to do, I have asked my college for help and they have suggested something that I feel like may make the situation worse. They have also referred me to talk to you as well for help.

Ask Sam


​​Hi there,

Forced marriage, verbal and physical abuse are types of abuse. It’s never okay for someone to hurt you or use their power this way. If you’re being abused in this way it can feel like you have no options but it’s important to think about your future and to get help to be safe.

Forced marriage is illegal in the UK. You have a right to choose who you marry, when you marry and whether you want to get married or not. No-one has the right to hurt you or to force you to do anything you don’t want to.

Your family may feel choosing who you marry is part of their religion or culture or feel pressure to force you to marry someone by their community or relatives. It’s important to remember that all major religions are against forced marriage and it’s never okay. Forced marriages happen in many religions and nationalities and can happen to boys as well as girls. The minimum age for any marriage in the UK is 16. Forced marriage is never okay at any age.

Some families are very strict and have a lot of rules which might restrict your freedom. All families have rules and agreements about how each other should behave but no one should use emotional or physical abuse to make you do anything.  It can help to tell someone what’s happening. This can feel like a big step, but counsellors at Childline are here to listen to you and support you.

You could keep a diary of what’s happening and when. This can help you organise your thoughts. And when you feel ready, you can use it to help explain what’s happening to an adult you trust. If you find it too difficult to tell someone face-to-face, you could try writing it in a letter .

Sometimes people can be forced to get married in a different country. If your family try to take you abroad to get married it’s important to tell someone straight away as it’s easier to get help as long as you’re still in the UK. If your family try to surprise you by taking you abroad without warning and you think they might be trying to force you to marry, call 999 if you can.

Sometimes people worry their family will reject them or harm them if they refuse to go along with a forced marriage. You can contact the the Forced Marriage Unit for help if you need it or call 999 in an emergency. Remember: you can speak to a Childline counsellor about anything.

Thank you for your letter. Take care,


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