Forced Marriage and Filial Love


Immigrant teens often adopt the majority culture's view of dating and marriage. Some parents acquiesce, like mine, who tried to find suitable boys for the three of us before giving up. Other parents fight for their native standards, as reported by Eric Geiger in the San Francisco Chronicle:
When 15-year-old Fatima traveled to Turkey last year to attend the wedding of a male cousin she had never met, she was eager to meet the bride and groom. But after she arrived in the small Turkish village where her parents had lived before immigrating to Austria, the Vienna high school pupil's enthusiasm quickly turned to panic when she learned that she was the bride. Despite Fatima's frantic resistance — her father beat her until she consented — the dark-haired teen went ahead with the marriage planned by the couple's parents ... Now 16, Fatima lives in a safe house in Vienna beyond the control of her father, who she says remains enraged by her defiance.
I can imagine that Fatima loves her father deeply, making her resistance to this forced marriage even more heroic — and heartbreaking. And what about her mother? Silent, powerless, unable to save her daughter from masculine fury? Or urging the men forward to save her daughter from Viennese corrruption? One thing is certain — filial love gets complicated when it's squeezed between cultures.

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