Woman of the Week: Why Jasvinder Sanghera is still fighting to support victims of forced marriage, Stylist, 9th May 2018
Thursday, May 10th, 2018
Woman of the Week is Stylist’s weekly celebration of women making a difference to society. After escaping a forced marriage as a teenager, Jasvinder Sanghera set up a national charity to support other survivors – and over the last 25 years, she’s helped thousands of women.
Aged 16, Jasvinder Sanghera made a decision that would change her life forever. Born into an Indian Sikh family in Derby, she was expected to marry an older man her parents had picked out. Sanghera had already watched her five older sisters be forced into unhappy, abusive marriages, and knew she didn’t want to marry the stranger her parents had chosen.
When she refused the marriage, her home life became unbearable. Her parents pulled her out of school and locked her in her bedroom, only letting her out once she agreed to the wedding. But before she could be married off, Sanghera ran away. Her boyfriend at the time helped her escape her parents’ house, and they fled to Newcastle.
When the police tracked them down, they persuaded Sanghera to call her mother, who told her she had two choices: either return or marry the stranger, or be cut off from her family forever. She chose the latter.