Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Forced Marriage

Hi Sam. I know this is a weird problem, as no one else who sent you a letter on here has posted about it.

But anyway, I'm 17 almost 18 in less than a month. My family are very cultural. We are South Asian. My family want me to marry a man I don't know who lives in our country. They're pressuring me to say yes to the engagement. My mum says I can't marry no one she doesn't approve of. And she says it has to be someone within our family which is gross, worse and probably even laughable to others. The man they want me to marry is a 22 year old and he doesn't speak proper English. He's my second cousin who I've never met.

I want to cry Sam. They want me to marry him! I said no but they said I have to marry someone they choose or I will shame my family. I've also been facing emotional and physical abuse from my mum - ever since I was small.

I don't know who to turn to, the world is closing in on me. I'm going to be 18 so no one can help me because they all expect adults to deal with their own problems. But I have no money to move out. I'm not allowed to move out, or even go out on my own, not allowed a job. I have to be home in 15 minutes from college.

I will be forced to marry. I might not be forced right now but I know that is my future. For me, forced marriages are like selling people off to be raped. It's all too much stress, I can't cope in college. People think I'm happy but I'm really not :(

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thank you for your letter, you’ve been so brave to get in touch. You’ve said that you’re worried that this is a “weird” issue, but the ChildLine counsellors tell me they do hear from other young people who are being forced to marry someone they don’t want to. I’m glad that your letter has given me the opportunity to talk about it on this page.

It’s unacceptable that you’ve faced emotional and physical abuse from your mum since you were small. If you ever feel like you’re not safe at home remember that it’s always ok to call 999 for immediate help. Saying that you will 'shame' your family if you don’t marry someone of their choosing is blackmail, another form of emotional abuse. You have a right to make decisions about what you want in your life and it’s not ok for your family to try to force you to marry against your will.

If your family attempt to force you to leave the country to get married, remember you can ask for help from the Police or security staff at the airport. There are also options you could consider before it gets to that point, such as applying for a forced marriage protection order. Forced marriage shouldn’t have to be your future and you don’t have to deal with this alone anymore. With help and support things can be different. You could also take a look at the forced marriage page for more information and advice or watch our video.

You mentioned you’re at college and I’m wondering whether there are any tutors, or any members of staff in student support services who you trust, who you feel you could talk to about this. Perhaps you could ask for their help in contacting one of the organisations who can give specialist advice on this area. For example, the Forced Marriage Unit will be able to help you think about what your options are and you can contact them on 020 7008 0151. Karma Nirvana also offer advice on how to protect yourself from the risk of honour violence and forced marriage. Their number is 0800 5999247.

ChildLine are here anytime that you want to talk. You can speak to a counsellor by phoning 0800 1111, logging on for a 1-2-1 chat through the website or sending an email. Calls are free and confidential and the number won't appear on the phone bill, including mobiles.

Take care,


Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

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