Getting Lippy about forced marriage

All of the short films in Action Aid’s Get Lippy campaign for International Women’s Day are well worth watching.  There are some fantastic and humbling stories about courage in the face of terrible injustice.  One story that really caught my attention, was Mina’s.  She was given away in marriage as the settlement for a family feud when she was 6.  She hasn’t seen her parents for more than a decade.

It is incomprehensible that any parent could do this to a child (though I’m extending my sympathy to Mina’s mother as well as Mina herself: I’m guessing she didn’t have much of a say in the transaction either).

Hers is, sadly, not a rare story in Afghanistan.  It’s not unknown here either – though you’d hope not for such very young girls.  I was horrified when I worked on the last government’s strategy for dealing with violence against women, to discover how many instances of forced marriage  take place in this country each year – the UK Foreign Office’s Forced Marriage Unit, dealt with 1,600+ cases in 2009.

Mina must be incredibly courageous to survive her experience and then have the guts to start campaigning for women’s rights in Afghanistan.  You can send her a message of support through the campaign site .  Spare a thought too for the women and girls from this country who are facing a similar fate.  Definitely something to get lippy about!

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