An interpretative phenomenological analysis of the experience of forced marriage for diasporic south Asian women who have left

Azim, Tahir (2022) An interpretative phenomenological analysis of the experience of forced marriage for diasporic south Asian women who have left. DCPsych thesis, Middlesex University / New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling (NSPC). [Thesis]

PDF - Final accepted version (with author's formatting)
Download (1MB) | Preview


Forced marriage (FM) was criminalised in the UK in 2014 as it was described as little more than slavery by the Prime Minister. The consequences of FM can include physical, emotional, and financial abuse, disruption to education, damage to career opportunities, enforced pregnancy, rape, abortion, abduction, mutilation, and murder. The UK is supplementing the criminalization of FM with interagency protocols to protect women involving healthcare and other professionals as victims of FM may not get another opportunity to tell someone what is happening to them. The “one chance rule” guidelines stress the importance of acting swiftly to secure endangered individual’s safety by removing them from their families. The purpose of this study is to explore the lived experience of eight diasporic south-Asian adult females who experienced FM in the past?

Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) analysed interview data from which Six major themes were identified: In theme one participants described how they learnt about their unexpected impending FM and felt disappointed that their dreams of a fairy tale wedding had been shattered. The second theme explored how participants experienced inequality against patriarchy because they felt that the hegemonic system which favoured males was heavily tilted against females. The third theme explored how after participants became aware of patriarchal domination and realised, they were the victims of such subjugation, each participant looked for ways to challenge patriarchal hegemony. In theme four participants expressed a desire for sexual equality from their patriarchs; but were sorely disappointed to learn that the sharing of power was simply not an option open to them; this impasse led to confusion and conflation between arranged marriage (AM) and forced marriage (FM). In theme five participants came to conclude that they would be better off accepting their AM/FM rather than exiting their community/culture. In the final theme Patriarchy was identified as the root cause of FM; participants rejected hegemonic male patriarchy leading to hard-won emancipation. Participants finally felt courageous enough to speak their mind and defend their individual interests over and above that of their family/clan. Since participants confused and conflated arranged marriage with forced marriage, it was concluded the ‘one chance rule’ is a dangerous strategy as it deprives women of choice. A psychotherapeutic framework for counselling clients who presented for FM was devised for clinicians to screen for FM, HBV or DV based on insights gained from this dissertation. Furthermore, the research process showed that the problem of FM was inextricably linked to the historic role of British colonial Empire and subsequent conflict in disputed Kashmir. The phenomenon of FM turned out to be a complex but relatively rare practice since all participants had conflated AM/FM and the Forced Marriage Unit had only secured three convictions since 2014. Recommendations included withdrawal of ‘one chance rule’, apologising to the south Asian people for Britain’s direct rule of south Asia, resolving the conflict in Kashmir with a power sharing agreement between India and Pakistan and providing Existential counselling on NHS for women who believe they experienced FM.

Item Type: Thesis (DCPsych)
Sustainable Development Goals:
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology
B. > Theses
C. Collaborative Partners > New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling (NSPC)
Item ID: 36830
Depositing User: Lisa Blanshard
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2022 15:35
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2022 19:06

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Activity Overview
6 month trend
6 month trend

Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.