Forced Marriages Still an Ugly Secret
By Charundi Panagoda

WASHINGTON, Jan 26, 2012 (IPS) - Two years ago, 40-year-old Vidya Sri decided to leave the devastating marriage her parents had forced her into nearly two decades ago. Alone for the first time, she began an earnest quest for support groups, women\'s organisations or service providers who might help her in the healing process.

Instead, what she found was a shocking lack of awareness on forced marriages in the United States. 

Sri came to the U.S. with her parents as a toddler and grew up in New York. Her Indian parents were quite traditional, especially her father, who was adamant that she not mingle with the opposite sex. 

\"My parents were very strict about family honour. It was (important) to my father that I remain untouched, unspoiled, pure and pristine because I would be of marriageable age very soon,\" Sri said. 


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