Help boys exposed to social control

Wedding Marriage Social ControlWedding. Photo: Pixabay

Asks Sanner to assist boys subject to social control

Shame prevents boys from seeking help, says the Red Cross. They invite Minister for Integration, Jan Tore Sanner (Conservatives), to increase the focus on boys subject to social control.


The Red Cross is one of 19 organizations that Friday advised the recently appointed Minister for Knowledge and Integration on how the Government can combat social control in the best possible manner.

The organizations were originally invited by the former Minister for Immigration and Integration, Sylvi Listhaug (Progress Party), but the meeting was redirected to Sanner following the shuffles in responsibilities last week.

– Our main concern is for more emphasize on boys subject to social control. In our contact with the youngsters, we see that it is more shameful for boys to talk about the control mechanisms they are exposed to and that they therefore do not get the help they need, says Project Manager in the Red Cross, Anne Marte Stifjeld, to NTB.

Not lecturing

Sanner has specifically asked for advice on how the Government can approach the parents. Stifjeld believes the authorities must work to clarify the boundaries between when raising a child can evolve into social control.

– It’s important that the social groups work actively and preventive. Parents may not wish to expose children to social control, but they do so because of pressure from outside the family that affects how they raise their children, Stifjeld says.

Founder and Chairman of the Pakistani Diaspora Organization DiaPraxis, Amna Wasim, says it is important to refrain from an instructive approach if minority parents are to be included.

– The approach towards parents must be inclusive. There are many positives among the parents and many who are fighting to prevent forced marriages and social control, Wasim tells NTB.

The organization was founded two years ago, and receives funding from the Directorate of Integration and Diversity (IMDi) to work against social control and involuntary marriages.

– All participating organizations provided useful input that we will pay heed to. the Government can do a lot by itself, but is dependent on collaborating with the involved organizations. It is important that we bring both the parents and not in the least the boys on board when we are addressing the issue, says the Minister of Knowledge and Integration.

Have to work internationally

Wasim also encourages Sanner to have an international focus on the issue, because forced marriages often is cross border – between the family’s country of origin – and Norway.

– It’s important to work much more closely with foreign legations and make use of the diaspora organizations in a much greater extent, because they fit in more easily with the local culture and have better access to the audience in question, she points out.

DiaPraxis collaborates with the county councilor of Gujarat in Pakistan, locally known as “Little Norway”, as many Norwegian Pakistani people originate from the region, in order to prevent forced marriages.

Negative to ban

Recently, several parties and other actors have voiced in favour of measures against social control.

The Labour Party (Ap) on Sunday proposed a ban on arrested marriages entered into because of mental duress, and the think tank Agenda has voiced a ban on marriages between cousins. The Socialist Party (SV) has proclaimed that they will submit a 20 points proposal to fight the practice, and that they invite the other political parties join in.

– Today’s prohibition regarding forced marriage also includes marriages entered due to undue duress, including massive mental pressure. Children born because of cousin marrying cousin furthermore frequently causes health problems and we must therefore consider how to avoid this. It is however not certain that an absolute ban is the best solution, says Sanner.

Both the Red Cross and DiaPraxis are skeptical towards the proposals of prohibition forwarded by Labour and Agenda, and believe it is more important to work for attitude changes and prevention and to be in close dialogue with the target groups.

In some parts of Bangladesh siblings are allowed to marry as long as they don’t share the same mother.


© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today