Free 2 Choose Conference 2013

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We have been working on a fantastic project about Forced Marriage since September which came to fruition this Monday with the Free 2 Choose 2013 Conference held at Manchester University. A collaborative project between Manchester City Council, the CPS, the Home Office, Manchester Women’s Aid, G.M.P Safer Schools Team and Act On Info amongst others, the conference, delivered to young people from four schools in the Manchester area was a great success.

Forced Marriage is when either a boy or girl is forced into marrying someone against their will. This happens through the use of emotional blackmail, threats or violence or even being tricked into a situation where they feel they have no choice. Forced Marriage is a violation of human rights that affects young people from a variety of different cultures. There is often the misguided belief that forced marriage is to do with religion. There is no major religion in the world that supports forced marriage. Whatever their religion or culture, whatever their family says, however old they are and whatever their sexuality, ability or disability everyone has the right to choose who to marry.

For this conference we used our theatre play – Promise Me to create a forum for debate, inviting the young delegates to explore, express and evaluate their opinions and attitudes to Forced Marriage. The young people attending the conference were amazingly mature about the topic and an intelligent and very lively (!) debate was stimulated through our use of forum theatre. It is brilliant to think that these young people now know enough about the topic to be able to be ambassadors against Forced Marriage. We were also really impressed by the young people’s performances in the form of comic storyboards, spoken word poetry and theatre pieces, so congratulations to the pupils from Levenshulme High School, Burnage High School, Manchester Academy and Whalley Range Girls School for such a brilliant show.

Despite Forced Marriage being a big problem there is a lot of help out there. If you feel under threat or suspect you or someone close to you is at risk, please get help from

Forced Marriage Unit –Tel:  0207 7008 0151 or Email: fmu@fco.gov.uk

If you are in immediate danger of being taken out of the country please dial the police – 999

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