Forced Marriages, Children And Spoons

Should you be telling children to wear a spoon in their underwear?

The 6 week break is no picnic for many children. In fact, this is the time when they can be the most vulnerable as they are effectively off the radar.

Co-op Academy in Leeds are telling pupils to place a spoon in their underwear if they think they are being taken away during the summer holidays against their will.

As reported in the Tes and in the Guardian, students at this inner-city secondary are being told that a spoon will set off metal detectors in the airport and this will then mean they will be taken for a search and able to raise the alarm in private and in safety.

The school is working with the charity Karma Nirvana to give advice to teenagers who taken overseas for forced marriages.

Schools are at the heart of prevention as forced marriage and honour-based abuse affect children as well as adults. During the summer holidays, there is a peak in male and female students going missing as they are often taken abroad for a forced marriage. Schools, therefore, play a crucial role in safeguarding students and helping to raise awareness as the absence of some students is not questioned and sometimes professionals regard this abuse as ‘cultural’ when no religion or culture condones this abuse.

Karma Nirvana (which means peace and enlightenment) is an award-winning British human rights charity supporting victims of honour-based abuse and forced marriage. It was founded in 1993 by the survivor, activist and author, Jasvinder Sanghera CBE who escaped a forced marriage by running away from home at age 16 years old.

In this marriage she explains what a forced marriage is compared to an arranged marriage:

Sweden has now adopted this idea and is advising girls to hide a spoon in their underwear if they fear they are being sent away for a forced marriage or female genital mutilation (FGM). Marriages without consent, or their refusal, have led to suicides and so-called honour killings.


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