The number of young immigrant women who seek help to prevent an arrange marriage has gone up by 75% in just one year.
More and more non-Danish young women don't want their parents to choose a husband for them, according to the national organization of women's crisis centers (LOKK). LOKK, an umbrella organization for 39 crisis centers, got close to 350 appeals of this type last year, compared to 200 in 2006.
Anne Mau of LOKK says that they are not under the impression that there's more pressure from the parents, but rather that the young ethnic women are more observant of their rights and possibilities and aren't willing to adapt themselves to their parents' demands.
Author and integration consultant Esma Birdi, who advises young ethnic women who feel pressured to get married, agrees. She points out that the new generation of immigrant women are better educated and are well informed, but that the recent social debate also had an effect on their revolution.
The debate about the 24 year rule has been very meaningful. All immigrant communities discussed it intensively and it informed many young women and equipped them with judicial arguments against arranged marriages. She says that many have also began to appeal to interpretations of the Koran that say that forced marriage is not allowed according to Islam.
Birte Siim, a professor at the Center for Gender Research at Aalborg University, is not surprised. She sys that people hear of the poor oppressed immigrant women, but reality is not so black and white. The latest research clearly shows that that there's a movement among ethnic women. There's a marked generational change and a natural development process which means that women are more self aware and are other demands from themselves and their environment.
Both Anna Mau and Esma Birdi stress that women still need a lot of support when they take on their parents, or are forced to leave their families. Birdi says that people shouldn't forget that these women are under extreme pressure not only from their parents, but also from their extended families. This pressure is almost impossible to deal with alone and therefore the crisis centers are more important than ever.
Source: Kristeligt Dagblad (Danish), h/t Dagens Ateist (Danish)
See also: Denmark: Stricter law against forced marriages proposed, Denmark: Brochures to teachers against forced marriages