Little Mix are taking time off from touring to make their fourth album, and they have also been giving private performances. However, since Little Mix has taken a break, their fans have stepped up to “Salute” them and to support an unexpected cause.
According to Liverpool Echo, on July 15, Little Mix fans gathered at John Lennon Airport to do a flash mob dance in honor of their favorite band. Well-known for their dance routines, Little Mix’s flavor was apparent when the Liverpool flash mob started singing one of their songs.
While this may have been a “Salute” to Little Mix, the flash mob was gathering to raise “attention” to forced marriages.
Sadly, in the video, people were walking by apathetically and few stopped to listen to the Little Mix fans or seemed interested in the cause to help end forced marriages. The performance by these Little Mix fans was superior, and the truth is, the issue they were supporting needs as much attention as possible because of the serious and widespread nature of forced marriage.
ABC News Australia reported on July 27 that forced marriage is sometimes associated with cultures that have a prevalence of arranged marriages, and the reports of forced marriages were on the rise in countries where the practice of arranged marriage is rare, such as Australia.
Soon after Little Mix fans at the Liverpool Airport performed, a case of forced marriage emerged that involved a British schoolgirl being forced at gunpoint to marry someone against her will, and then was raped by her husband for the next three years.
According to Mirror, the girl managed to escape and get help, but the issue remains that millions of girls and women around the world are experiencing this issue.
In July, a similar case was reported in New Jersey after an American-Pakistani woman was brought back to the United States by officials after her family forced her to marry her cousin.
America and the U.K. are not the only countries having trouble with forced marriage cases, as Switzerland has been seeing a rise in children as the victims of forced marriage. The Local reported on August 9 that of the 119 cases in 2016 involving children, a majority of them were from “Eritrea, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.”
Despite this pattern in Switzerland, the United States government has published research that shows the practice of forced marriage is not limited to these African or Asian countries. For example, it is estimated from self-reporting forced marriage participants that between 36 to 40 percent of girls in Brazil are in forced marriages before age 18.
However, many countries are fighting back against forced marriage because the situation can escalate into extreme forms of infamy quickly. For example, according to the Tribune in Pakistan, “Sisters, 19-year-old Naghma Mastoi and 17-year-old Fauzia Mastoi, were allegedly being sold by their mother and step-father in connivance with a local policeman for the second time.”
Other countries have attempted to eschew this practice by increasing the legal age for marriage. For example, the anti-forced marriage organization, Girls Not Brides, says that countries like Kenya have adopted the predominate restriction for marriage under the age of 18.
Despite changing laws that restrict marriage under the age of 18, recent research presented by the Canadian government stated that over 15 million girls each year are forced into marriages, according to Today Nigeria. An official from Canada also stated the following about one of the overlooked dangers of the forced marriage of children.
“[W]hen a young girl whose body is not mature enough for child bearing is placed under such strenuous condition and without proper medical attention, the consequences [are] often devastating.”
Nevertheless, will this inspire Little Mix or their fans to rally around the forced marriage cause? In the meantime, fans can get involved by connecting with agencies that work against the forced marriage of girls and women.
Good examples of these organizations are the Girls Not Brides website. In the U.K., Savera or Against Forced Marriage have informative websites about forced marriage and other “honor” crimes, such as female genital mutilation.
The United States government also has an official guide on forced marriage, as well as the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline at (888) 373-7888.
[Picture by KGC-03/STAR MAX/IPx]