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Read with interest of the Bangladeshi woman whose parents arranged for her marriage. Nothing particularly unusual, you may think, that sort of thing happens all the time, in  a culture in which that is normality. But the problem is that the woman is a virtual vegetable, or has ‘severe learning difficulties’ as we are supposed to state these PC days. But apparently this is also the norm in these ‘backward’ cultures, where the ageing parents know that they have found someone who will look after their new ‘bride’, despite all the problems attached to this union.

But a British judge has nullified the wedding, stating that the bride could not consciously agree to the match, because she literally could not have understood what was arranged.

So, folks who is right; the parents, for doing their best for their handicapped daughter, or the judge, who was after all applying British Law?

Tricky one; eh?

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14 thoughts on “But was it Just?

  1. It’s not tricky at all. The woman was unable to give informed genuine consent to the marraige and it is no-one elses perogative to do so.

  2. Take your pick, the family decides what serves their best interests or the state does.

    Honestly, I don’t comprehend any type of “marriage” between severely mentally disabled people. Especially in a country that guarantees comprehensive cradle to grave health care.

    Its not like distraught parents need to find private caretakers to provide financially prohibitive medical care for their aging, disabled children in the UK.

    Set this same story in America and you might have challenging discussion on your hands.

  3. The idea that this man was able to have sex with this uncomprehending woman because her parents had decided he was to be her husband is absurd. I can only presume Mike was being sarcastic (or idiotic) with his “Tricky one” sign off.

  4. Read with interest of the Bangladeshi woman

    -Stop right there. She’s a Bangladeshi woman, OK. What has Britain or its courts got to do with this?
    – Oh, sorry. For a moment there I was daydreaming about times long past. She stepped onto the tarmac at Heathrow, so she’s ‘British’ (whatever that means these days) and it’s our problem now.

  5. Why is that absurd? Most retarded people experience normal completely normal, if not hyper attenuated, sex drives. If her parents felt the need to find a legal caretaker to ensure her long term care in the form of a cousin-husband why should the state deem itself the better arbiter of her general well-being?

    Sterilize the daft woman and let the state mind its own business.

  6. Oh Daphne – You are a wonderfull woman (mostly) but on this topic you are an asshole 😉

  7. As always the danger lies in setting a precedent, especially when it involves different cultural values. No for example there is something to be said for what was fairly common practice here in the British Isles less than a hundred years ago. Families looked after aged parents, children saw the whole circle of life, and old people still felt valued.
    Now we see sheltered housing schemes and nursing homes in which the elderly are left to wait..
    There are no familiar surroundings, close family or friends to make life more bearable, and the staff are underpaid and rushed off their feet. So I am not sure that that State care has been an improvement over helping families to cope with their own elderly.

    Just so probably a hundred years ago the solution that this couple found for their daughter would have seemed perfectly sensible. But then we discovered “human rights” and “individual choice”, so this poor woman has to have a say in her future, and if she can’t understand she needs an advocate and perhaps a whole raft of health and care professionals to help her make an informed choice, in line with her human rights.
    Just as I mentioned the other day about the woman who’s “right” it is to have as many children by as many men as she chooses; but those children have no right to a decent family life.

    I think what is really needed is a reintroduction of common sense into our Welfare system, so that the State retains overall control, but families and doctors and health workers can cooperate together for the best outcomes.

  8. We are not required to say that anyone who is a virtual vegetable has “severe learning difficulties”. That would be a stupidly misleading term.

    There is nothing tricky about this at all. Anyone not able to concent to marriage or sex should not be having either. Why would any loving parent or even just one who gives a bit of a damn want to hand their child over to someone who would want/expect unconsensual sex?! If you have a case where cultural issues mean that you can’t look after someone in this situation unless you are related (including marriage), then I would still be concerned about the potential for abuse.

    Either way legally, it is a no brainer and no marriage.

  9. To me it is simple.
    If they are in Britain they obey British Law, and it seems that British Law would not allow such a marriage.
    If they are in Bangladesh (or indeed anywhere else) they obey the law of the country they are in.
    There have been numerous instances in the past where British Law has refused to recognise a marriage which has taken place abroad for various reasons, what’s different here?

  10. Agit8ed

    You are conflating 2 different things. Appointing a family member as a carer is not the same thing as imposing a sexual partner on a person.

  11. Unfortunately this will become more and more common. The habit of some of these foreigners is to marry close relatives, thus producing a high proportion of children with genetic defects including mental problems. Studies show that such disabled children are about 13 times more prevalent in British Muslim families than in normal British marriages. It’s not surprising that they come to a country where a nationalised health service will look after their children, no questions asked.

    Note that this woman’s parents ‘married’ her to another cousin.

  12. “You are conflating 2 different things.”

    You’re right Colm. My mistake.
    I meant that the family along with social services support should find a solution – not simply marry her off.

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