In three separate items posted online today, the BBC reported about the first prison sentence handed down in the UK under new legislation against forced marriage. In all, the court imposed a 16-year sentence for rape, bigamy, and voyeurism, as well as forced marriage.
Four times in the three articles, BBC refers to culture (cultural traditions, beliefs, and practices) as the problem. For example: "Many say the problem lies in deep-rooted cultural traditions and that young people are reluctant to come forward to the authorities."
What culture is that? The articles do not say, but coyly supply suggestive details. One says: "The code of family honour and shame can run very deep in families with strong roots on the Indian Subcontinent." Another article elaborates: "The FMU [Forced Marriages Unit] was involved in cases covering 88 countries, with most from the Asian subcontinent [emphasis in original] - 38% from Pakistan, 8% from India and 7% from Bangladesh." The sentenced man entered into his forced, second marriage at a mosque. His victim was a "devout Muslim." The story quotes a woman from the Muslim Women's Network UK.
In other words, the "culture" that is such an obstacle on this issue is Muslim culture. But the BBC refuses to say it, perhaps refuses to think it, and definitely refuses to confront it.
George Orwell said, "If people cannot write well, they cannot think well, and if they cannot think well, others will do their thinking for them." More recently, former US Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn said: "You can't defeat an enemy that you don't admit exists."
Why are there so few forced marriage prosecutions? For the beginnings of the answer, the BBC need look no further than its own grossly incomplete reporting.