A few months ago one of the British papers had a story about a gypsy wedding which took place in London. The bride delighted in the ceremony, her dress and her new grown up status. After the church wedding both bride and groom each went to their own, separate homes. They're only children after all (somewhere in their early teens) and won't have sex till they were 18, we were assured. I was quite surprised at the tone of the article, but had not managed to find it again.
Forced marriage is forced marriage, even when the girl is not raped. Here's a few more stories on gypsy weddings in Europe and the concerns of authorities about these minor weddings: 1, 2, 3, 4. The Roma have been a hot topic in Italy this year, and this story adds on to quite a few others.
Italian police arrested a 21 year old Kosovar-Albanian who had married an 11 year old girl and had gotten her pregnant.
The boy's parents had come to Serbia last year. Bargaining for the girl had started at 25,000 euro, and the man had finally bought her for 17,000. The boy's parents had been living in the northern Italian town of Brescia for many years, and so the girl was smuggled into Italy and married off in a traditional East European wedding, according to some sources, or in an Islamic wedding, according to others.
The girl was supposedly repeatedly raped by her 'husband'. When the girl, now 12, gave birth in a North-Italian clinic, authorities were notified. The man was arrested on charges of rape and enslavement.
During the first interrogation the man kept silent, according to Italian press agency Ansa Friday. His lawyer asked to release the suspect from jail and to put him under house arrest, saying that weddings organized by the families - also with very young people - were part of the culture and norms of the Roma and also of many Muslims.
The young mother and her baby is protected and treated by specialists, he added. The girl had simply told the police that such things happen by them.
An Italian politician demanded that the yoke of oppression will for once and always be lifted from these women and girls.
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