Davinder Kaur: Engaged at 14, Forced to Marry & Raped by Her Husband

In an exclusive interview, Davinder Kaur tells DESIblitz about her horrific experiences of being engaged at 14 years old, forced into marriage, and raped by her husband.

Davinder Kaur: Engaged at 14, Forced to Marry & Raped by Her Husband

"he raped me and was strangling me"

Forced to marry at a young age, assaulted at the hands of her husband, and left to “accept it” by her family, this is the real story of Davinder Kaur.

For many, the concept of forced marriage might seem like a relic of the past. However, Davinder’s harrowing story reminds us that this practice still persists

Born in the heart of Bradford, the victim’s journey is one of mental, physical, and culturally-motivated torture.

Whilst she now resides in the US, she exclusively spoke with DESIblitz in order to help others who may be going through similar events.

Davinder’s powerful narrative sheds light on the traumatic ordeal she endured and her subsequent journey to break free from the chains of her abuse.

Through her courage, resilience, and advocacy, she wants to become a beacon of hope for others.

In this first-hand account, Davinder Kaur bravely shares the details of the harm she was made to endure for many years.

Unfortunately, her experiences will resonate with a lot of survivors, victims, and other women around the world.

But, whilst she describes parts of her unimaginable journey, she hopes that others will feel safe to come forward and seek support. 

Warning: The following content is of an adult, graphic and disturbing nature, and may upset readers.

Innocence and Betrayal

Davinder Kaur: Engaged at 14, Forced to Marry & Raped by Her Husband

The story of Davinder Kaur unfolds in the heart of Bradford, England, where she was born and raised.

Her parents, like countless immigrants, had journeyed from Punjab to embrace a new life in a foreign land.

However, while her parents embraced the future, the spectre of tradition loomed large through the generations.

In the backdrop of an evolving world, Davinder’s grandparents remained anchored to the past, carrying with them the cultural norms of a bygone era.

Between the 70s and 90s, and even in the modern day, gender roles of women cleaning and men being the breadwinner were the norm.

However, Davinder explains the pressure and impact this would have on her at such a young age:

“So from about seven or eight, we were shown how to make curries, do other cooking and cleaning.

“I just couldn’t seem to be fast enough or better than my sister.

“It was not really supposed to be a competition ever, but it felt like we were in a competition. I was told I am too slow.

“When it came to washing dishes or drying dishes, my sister was a lot faster than me.

“So there were expectations put on me to be a little bit faster.

“I was called names, unfortunately, by my own mum mostly, being constantly made fun of that I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t fast enough.

“I did whatever I could that my mum wanted me to do because we didn’t really have a choice to do otherwise.

“It could have been eight or nine when we started washing the clothes and would help mum put the clothes out.

“So it was a constant amount of work that me and my sister were doing.

“What I remember is just an unhappy childhood, feeling bullied to some degree by my mum who would talk about me to my grandma. 

“No one really stood up for me, not even my grandma.

“I mean, she didn’t call me those names, but she didn’t say to my mum, ‘stop calling her that’. She would just laugh.

“And so I didn’t feel any real love from my family and they would constantly compare me with my sister.

“No matter what I did, I couldn’t please them. And I think I just kept trying and trying. And so it really bothered me.

“My brother didn’t have to do anything around the house, but again, me and my sister did.

“We would be told off and sometimes if we didn’t do something perfectly.

“We were slapped or we were even put down in the cellar where we had mice.”

“I was terrified of mice but we were put in the cellar and it was a horrible place to be.

“There was also a stage when I was so miserable thinking I wasn’t loved, I wasn’t appreciated and as if I was in the way.

“I felt very alone and as though nobody was caring for how I felt or my feelings.

“One day I remember, I tried to put a knife to my neck and slash my neck. I think it was around about nine years old then.

“I didn’t succeed because I probably didn’t have the strength to put the knife further. 

“I made some type of marks in my neck.

“I was so unhappy that I resorted to having to do something like that.

“I was made to feel like I wasn’t good enough.”

Davinder’s words outline just how troubled her childhood was, constantly being compared to or made to think she wasn’t fulfilling her family’s needs. 

Being pushed to the brink of suicide emphasises just how Davinder was feeling at the time. 

Her parents were unaware of such a disturbing event. However, Davinder would soon have to deal with another aspiration rooted in her parents – arranged marriage.

Davinder Kaur: Engaged at 14, Forced to Marry & Raped by Her Husband

At just 14 years old, Davinder was an oblivious young girl looking to impress her parents. 

She loved Bollywood films and would always see a happy marriage in the movies and thought that was the way she would get married. 

But, her experiences highlight that it was anything but a joyous and consenting process: 

“Somebody in the community would be the matchmaker.

“One day, the matchmaker turned out to be a family friend who had been around a few times – a big turban guy.

“He brought a picture and I saw him talking to my mum, quietly whispering and looking at me.

“I kind of knew something was going on. 

“Next thing I knew, mum was showing me this picture and said, ‘So what do you think, he’s a really good-looking boy? You’re really lucky to have a chance to get a boy like this’.

“If I had said no, my mum would’ve slapped me.

“Being raised the way I was and knowing my place, I knew if I said anything about this picture she would’ve slapped me and said, ‘who do you think you are?’.

“It wasn’t like my mum showed me five or six different pictures and said ‘which one do you pick?’.

“No, it wasn’t like that. It’s one picture.

“I felt like I couldn’t answer back or express my own thoughts and feelings because I would be punished if I did.

“I just had to really go along with it, I don’t even think I said yes, I think I said he’s okay.

“Not really knowing what was about to happen, me saying ‘he’s okay’ led to a whole array of things happening.

“The matchmaker arranged for the boy to come from Punjab.

“He came about two weeks later and we went to my uncle’s house in Bradford.

“I was told how to behave and that I would just say hello to the boy and then to not talk to him anymore or look at him.

“I would pose for pictures and the boy’s brother who lived in Birmingham came over with his wife and they also posed for pictures. 

“I don’t even know if I knew what was happening, that this was my engagement.

“I didn’t realise this until years later, I’m not sure how I didn’t realise it then.

“But I was only 14 and no one actually said I’m getting engaged.”

“I was posing for pictures with him doing as I was told, I knew all eyes were on me.

“We had all our family there, other uncles, aunties, cousins.

“Everyone seemed to be happy and I had to smile and let the boy put his arm around my shoulders. 

“I didn’t know him, he was a stranger.”

From a tender age, Davinder Kaur understood the path laid out for her but was unaware it was happening before she even turned 15 years old. 

The concept of marriage, while shrouded in uncertainty and mystery, was a looming inevitability.

Cultural narratives, including those from Bollywood films, had painted a picture of this norm, leaving little room for questioning.

Davinder’s journey was predestined, and the contours of her life were etched with unyielding expectations.

The Dark Shadow of Arranged Marriage

Davinder Kaur_ Engaged at 14, Forced to Marry & Raped by Her Husband (4)

As Davinder reached adolescence, the weight of cultural expectations bore down on her.

Arranged marriage loomed and she found herself at the mercy of tradition.

Despite her protests and pleas, she was coerced into a marriage with a stranger, a man chosen by her family.

The suffocating grip of societal norms tightened as she was thrust into a life she never wanted:

“When I was 15, we went on a vacation to Punjab.

“I know that I and my brother and two sisters weren’t very happy about this because all our friends were going to Spain and France and Italy.

“We’d never been out of the country and all of a sudden, we have to go somewhere really far away like India.

“Our parents wanted to take us to India during the summer holidays from school, so six weeks vacation.

“But I remember a few days later, we went to the boy’s village and there was a big party.

“And again, I didn’t really talk to him. I said hello and I met his parents for the first time.

“We posed for pictures again, had food, and left. 

“I didn’t realise till years later that this was another engagement party – my second engagement party.

“I also realised that I was in India, not just for a vacation, a holiday, but it was for the business of arranged marriage.

“My family had taken me to India so that they could buy clothes and jewellery for my wedding and also so that I could meet his family.

“I wasn’t told any of this. I didn’t think about any of this when it was happening to me.

“It’s only later that I drew these conclusions and I have to accept what happened.”

Whilst Davinder thought she was spending quality time with her family, she could barely comprehend the dealings and agreements of an arranged marriage that were happening around her.

It goes to show how early some forced marriages start when those involved are oblivious to their surroundings. 

As Davinder Kaur approached young adulthood, she wanted to experience the world around her and succeed in education.

But, she was blocked from doing so by her parents. She explains: 

“I was about 16 and told my mum that I wanted to go to college.

“My mum just said ‘you don’t need to go to college, you’re getting married’.

“I believed because my parents were so strict that they didn’t want me out of their sight in case I got corrupted.

“Everybody in the community in Bradford talked.

“So, when my mum went to the temple, they all gossiped about this girl and that girl and how Pakistani boys were being very corruptive of the Indian girls.

“We were told that if you saw a Pakistani boy, that you were supposed to just ignore him.

“Because all they want to do is get Indian girls pregnant and spoil their lives.

“We were constantly told stuff like this.”

At 18, Davinder sought to break free from the confines of her predetermined destiny.

Her heart yearned for something more than the forced marriage that seemed to await her.

In a daring move, Davinder Kaur attempted to escape, to carve her own path, to defy the inevitability that had been etched into her story.

Yet, the forces that sought to control her had other plans. Davinder’s escape was but a fleeting taste of freedom:

“I realised I didn’t want to get married. I would read these romance books at nighttime and something awakened in me that maybe I didn’t know when I was 14.

“Maybe I was just too young not to know my own mind properly or what I wanted.

“As I got closer to the age of 18, I knew I should be able to fall in love with somebody and really wanted to get married.

“I didn’t know this boy. I didn’t want to marry him, he was a stranger.

“I knew that if I tried to run away before I was 18, I would probably be returned back home by the police.

“So, once I was 18, I went into a taxi cab place and explained I needed a taxi on this day and to not come to our shop. 

“I explained nobody must know that you’re waiting outside for me.

“I gave them the instructions to park by our backyard and I also booked the coach ticket that would take me to London.

“I got my suitcase, which I had packed and prepared, and I managed to get down those stairs and I ran away.

“It all worked out fine. Nobody saw me. 

“My heart was beating so fast. I was so scared that my dad might have found out or somebody had seen me, or a customer might have reported it.

“I felt really, really sad. And I had second thoughts. I was thinking I’m leaving my family and can I rewind time? 

“But a part of me knew what I was doing was right.

“I managed to find a cheap bed and breakfast and I stayed there for two months until I was homesick.

“One day I called home and my mum answered the phone. She was shocked to hear from me. 

“When she started talking to me, it seemed like she was very mad and unhappy with me.

“But then she told me that my grandma was really ill.”

“I was really close to my grandma and I thought my grandma was ill because I had run away and I felt guilty. 

“My mum was pleading with me to go back home and I told her I couldn’t.

“When I left that phone booth, I was very sad because I kept thinking about my grandma.

“I made another call home and told my mum I’m coming home.

“They sent an auntie of mine to London to come and travel with me. We took the train back but I wasn’t sure why I had to be escorted back.”

Davinder Kaur_ Engaged at 14, Forced to Marry & Raped by Her Husband (4)

“I remember coming back and it seemed like everybody was happy to see me, apart from my mum.

“She didn’t welcome me, didn’t hug me or anything,  just gave me a stare.

“All I heard from her was that I had caused her so much grief that she’d gone into my bedroom at nighttime and banged her head against the wall in my bedroom.

“Her teeth got damaged because she’d banged her head so much.

“I was overwhelmed by all this guilt, and on top of that, my grandma wasn’t ill.

“It was just a trick to get me back home. My grandma was perfectly fine.”

“They had just lied to me to get me to come back home. 

“I was happy my grandma was okay but it was just a trick and I couldn’t really run away again because they all knew I had done it once.

“All eyes were upon me and the matchmaker.

“He said that we had to go to Denmark for the wedding and we would stay with his daughter.

“The boy would go from India to there and he would say he was a tourist.

“I had to say to my mum that I didn’t want to get married, and she basically said you have to, he’s been waiting.

“Thing is, I did not make him wait for me for four years. It was my family who made him wait for me for four years. 

“I had so much guilt and pressure upon me that I finally decided that I couldn’t get away from my family. I knew I had to give in.

“There’s no way they were gonna let me get away with this.

“I ended up saying yes but I knew that when I got to Denmark, I only had to get away from one person instead of a whole family.”

Like many women, Davinder Kaur found herself tricked into returning to a life she desperately sought to evade.

The suffocating grasp of tradition proved formidable, a stark reminder of the challenges that lie ahead.

The narrative of her life shifted, and she became not just a daughter, but a commodity in a cultural transaction. 

Trapped & Abused

Davinder Kaur_ Engaged at 14, Forced to Marry & Raped by Her Husband (4)

In the midst of family expectations and societal pressures, Davinder found herself at a crossroads.

The prospect of an arranged marriage loomed large, while her dreams of a different future burned brighter than ever.

Although, in Denmark, far from her familiar surroundings, Davinder’s nightmare intensified.

As her ‘big day’ was approaching, she felt more insecure in her environment and was exposed to a new life of judgement, objectification, and disrespect:

“I stayed in this apartment with the matchmaker’s daughter, her husband, and their little boy.

“I was doing the same things as I was doing at home – helping her make roti, the patties, the curries, and serving her husband and their kid.

“Before I knew it, my soon-to-be husband was also going to be staying at the same apartment.

“We were both going to live under the same roof, which is so bizarre because normally in Indian households, you don’t stay under the same roof until you’re married.

“But because of the circumstances, he was going to stay there.

“We were told the rules. So, if he goes to the bathroom, he would have to tell somebody he needs to go so they would make sure that I wasn’t around.

“And similarly, when I needed to go, I had to tell them so we wouldn’t run into each other alone.

“I didn’t want to talk to him but I would be serving him food and not really looking at him.

“Two weeks later, my family all flew out and the marriage happened.

“I blocked out a lot from that day, it’s something I gave into but I was miserable.

“Days leading up to it, everybody was coming and celebrating the different ceremonies.

“I was like how come they’re all happy? I was supposed to be the happy one, but I wasn’t.

“No one seemed to notice my misery and they didn’t seem to care, it’s so strange.

“Then on the wedding day, I do remember that night, because parts of that I can’t block out.

“I, unfortunately, did give in to doing what was expected of me.

“In Bollywood movies, people hang around outside the bedroom door on wedding nights because they want to see if it’s consummated.

“Even though he was a stranger, I knew it was expected and I knew my mum and the matchmaker’s daughter were outside the door listening.

“I gave myself up to a stranger. I deeply regret being put into that situation, I really do.”

“When I think back, my heart breaks for my 18-year-old self. It breaks for my 14-year-old self.”

Davinder’s hopes of romance were shattered by the people around her and she was forced to bed a man she barely knew.

Whilst forced marriage is a stigma within itself, sleeping with someone without wanting to is another element of these types of marriages that needs to be addressed.

Families expecting their own daughters to procreate and enjoy it, whilst standing outside listening, is such a worrying thought for many victims out there. 

Davinder Kaur continues to explain the aftermath of her unpleasant wedding, coming to realise that she was giving in to expectations that weren’t her own: 

“I was forced to marry a stranger and then in some ways, even though nobody held a knife to me or a gun or anything, I knew what was expected of me.

“But the thing is, I did realise that I did have some rights to not give myself up to him again.

“I told him when we were on the honeymoon that I didn’t want to be with him again.

“He was surprised but he did go along with it.

“We slept on two separate beds during the honeymoon and it stayed like that the whole time.

“I told him that I wanted to get to know him better because at that time I didn’t mention the divorce.

“Everybody probably thought we were a newly married couple in love and we were in one of the most romantic places, but yet I wasn’t happy.

“He was an Indian from India and I’m Indian from England. So we grew up in very different ways.

“He was also very strict and controlling.

“He told me that when I go on a bus and I need to ask for directions, I need to ask women and I don’t need to ask a man.

“It’s kind of telling me what to do and how to behave.”

Davinder Kaur: Engaged at 14, Forced to Marry & Raped by Her Husband

Slowly, Davinder’s new husband revealed his true colours, subjecting her to physical, mental and emotional abuse.

Isolated and helpless, she turned to her family for support.

But, the very people who should have protected her had turned their backs, leaving her trapped in a living nightmare:

“I knew he was controlling, I knew he was strict. There was s no chemistry between us.

“He barely knew how to speak any English and I wasn’t fluent in Punjabi. So we had this communication barrier.

“I did speak Punjabi to him, but I was reluctant to speak it, but I had to. I had resentment towards him.

“Within two weeks, I told him that I wanted to have a divorce. 

“He was upset, very upset. He called my family behind my back and I think they were on his side.

“When I would talk to them, my mum would say that I have to try harder.

“So I carried on with my job.

“I told him we were still sleeping separately. I would sleep on the sofa bed and he would sleep on the bed, which was in the main part of the studio.

“All of a sudden, just a few days before my dad showed up, he told me that he had called my family.

“I was upset that he called them behind my back and he knew I was really serious about leaving him.

“My dad came out to Denmark and tried to talk me into staying in the marriage and to work harder at it.

“He said that maybe we could come back to England and with the support of family, they could guide us with how to make this marriage work.

“But I didn’t want to be married to this man, this stranger that I had no chemistry with.

“I had nothing in common with him and I found him to be strict and controlling.

“My dad was not listening, and he was telling me that I needed to make this marriage work.

“My dad also, unfortunately, always had a thing for alcohol growing up. 

“No matter what he was saying to me, I wasn’t listening. So, he had on his mind that he needed to find the closest pub.

“He went with my husband to the bar and I was left alone.

“More than an hour later, my husband came back and he was drunk and he turned the music on really loud.

“That was a signal for me that something is about to happen.

“We lived on the top floor of the apartment in Denmark where there’s not an elevator.

“You have to remember, this is in the late 80s when this happened to me.

“There was no elevator and there were literally a hundred stairs or so to get from the bottom to the top floor where we lived.

“He basically came for me and told me I’d been really bad, I’d been a bad wife, he was really mad with me, and was going to teach me a lesson.

“Then he proceeded to strangle me, order me around, and tell me he was going to have his way with me.

“He was strangling me, he attacked me and was violating me. 

“I had to plead with him, I knew something bad was happening to me.

“I knew my life was in danger, so I pleaded ‘I’m so sorry I’ve been a really bad wife, I’m really, really sorry. Please forgive me. I’m going to be a better wife for you’.

“He relaxed his hold on my neck and I believe if I hadn’t pleaded with him, I could have died that night.

“He was strangling me and obviously had every intention of killing me.”

“Plus he raped me, he violated me, and nobody has a right to do that to their wife or to anybody else.

“But he got what he wanted for being violent to me and from having drank.

“That’s not an excuse that he didn’t know what he was doing. He shouldn’t have drunk.

“And the fact is that he raped me and was strangling me, and this is not acceptable.

“Once the whole thing stopped, he got dressed and I got dressed and he told me he would go find my dad and bring him back.”

Davinder Kaur_ Engaged at 14, Forced to Marry & Raped by Her Husband (4)

“As I was sitting there alone in the apartment, I was really, really shaken.

“I couldn’t stay with him, this evil monster.

“I knew that when he brought my dad back, he would help me.

“So I got dressed and I sat there on the bed trying to pluck up the courage to tell my dad all this.

“My dad came back and somehow my husband wasn’t with him.

“So I told my dad, my husband was strangling me and he almost killed me.

“I told him he was raping me, and my dad basically said, he’s your husband, he has every right to do this to you.

“It’s not what I expected from my dad.

“I thought my dad would’ve cared about me, that he would’ve helped me.

“I was in a strange country and he’s the only family member that I had, but he still said, ‘your husband has every right to do this’.

“But they made him my husband, I didn’t, they did that to me. And now he was taking his side.

“I knew instinctively that not only did I have to get away from my husband, I had to get away from my dad too.

“I offered to make them both tea and I put the kettle on.

“I grabbed my handbag from the studio and walked down the hallway quietly.

“Somehow I managed to get to the end of the hallway, open and close the door, then run down the 100 steps or so all the way down.

“I hailed a taxi and took it to a friend’s house. That’s how I got away from my husband.

“I never went back to my husband again.”

“But my mum had put a deposit down for the apartment and I needed to get my things out because I had only taken a handbag with me.

“So a few days later, some colleagues of mine from Burger King escorted me back to the apartment.

“Lo and behold, what I found was my husband had damaged the walls deliberately so I wouldn’t get my deposit back.

“He’d also taken a lot of my possessions that had personal meaning to me and my certificates from school and other things.

“I’m still eternally grateful to this day that they helped me because that touches my heart when I think about it.

“That night when I escaped, I filed a police report and they asked if I knew where my husband was.

“I told them where he worked and I told them that he got married to me to become permanent in the UK and his intention was to move back there.

“The police said they would find him but I don’t think they did find him.

“All I know now is he did move to the UK shortly after that and he did become permanent.

“My family didn’t care. I’m their flesh and blood, but because now this man was married to their daughter, he was kind of like a son.

“In the Indian culture, sons are much more precious than daughters. And now he was a son more than I was a daughter.”

Despite her valiant efforts, Davinder’s fate took a cruel turn.

Whilst she was trying her best to fulfill the social and gender expectations put onto her by her family, she was cruelly taken advantage of.

Even after pleading for help, she was the victim of a heinous and vile rape that would leave her scarred for life.

Fuelled by instinct and the will to survive, she fled her abusive husband and the family who had betrayed her.

The path to freedom was fraught with danger and emphasises the type of methods victims have to go through to survive.

Rebuilding & Raising a Voice

Davinder Kaur: Engaged at 14, Forced to Marry & Raped by Her Husband

Davinder’s journey continued in America, where she sought solace and a fresh start.

The wounds of her past were far from healed, but she channelled her pain into her education, striving to overcome the obstacles that had once seemed insurmountable.

As she pursued her dreams, she discovered a growing urge to share her story, break the silence surrounding forced marriage and inspire change.

Moreover, she vitally expresses the situation with her own family and the impact this life-changing journey has had: 

“I moved to America when I was 22, so I’ve been here now for more than half my life.

“I went away from England to escape everything that happened to me there.

“Although, I do miss England. I miss my family, my friends, my home.

“Even though my family has come to America and I would go back, the relationship with my mum has been strained since my childhood.

“I’d never felt real love from her and it continued with this forced marriage.

“She wasn’t happy that I ran away and was miserable when I showed up at home.

“All these things she told me as though I had done something and now when I think about it, it was my mum who did this to me.

“I stayed silent because I obeyed what she told me and the upbringing I had, I never told anybody about my marriage.

“I didn’t tell anybody the details, I didn’t tell them I ran away after six weeks. For so many years I stayed quiet. 

“I put myself through college here and it took me a long time because I have three beautiful kids – my pride and joy.

“I will not any of them have arranged married or forced married.

“They know my story and they know what I went through.

“I’d like to think that I have broken the tradition in my family – the cycle of abuse.

“Because it is a cycle of abuse to pass this tradition down again and again through different generations.

“If somebody doesn’t want to get married, it’s such a wrong thing to do in the name of tradition and culture.

“It’s nobody’s tradition to abuse. It’s nobody’s culture to abuse.”

“I knew after many years of having the relationship with my family that I had to speak up.

“At San Diego State University where I graduated at age 40, I was asked by one of my teachers why was I at college at that time in my life.

“I blurted out that I had wanted to go to college right after high school and I wasn’t allowed to because my parents wanted me to have an arranged marriage.

“They all gasped. I realised what I said was shocking to them and I was shocked myself that they were shocked.

“I realised right then and there that I maybe need to start talking about this more. And I only had that thought at 40 years old.”

Davinder Kaur_ Engaged at 14, Forced to Marry & Raped by Her Husband (4)

“Now there’s quite a number of charities and I’m really glad there’s a change now for victims.

“Here in America, I feel like we’re 20 steps behind the UK and it needs to change.

“Child marriage is still happening here. There are only nine states so far today that have raised the marriage age to 18.

“Also, my mum soon found out from social media that I was speaking up.

“It didn’t click with her because she thought it was about someone else and she actually liked some of these stories without realising it was about me.

“Then in September 2019, I got disowned again for the second time in my life for speaking my truth.

“My brother and to a large degree my two sisters aren’t really talking to me.

“I’m shocked because this situation also happened to them too.

“My brother and my sister, who’s a year and a half younger than me, both had forced marriages.

“They’re mad because I’m telling the truth about my mum and they’re saying that she’s getting older and I shouldn’t be doing this.

“Am I supposed to hold this deep within me till I’m 80 years old? What if I don’t live till I’m 80?

“Do I just have to keep all this a secret and keep it within me and not potentially help anybody out there by?

“But I don’t think mum was doing anything deliberately and I have forgiven her. 

“I’ll never forget what happened to me, but I have forgiven her.”

Through the power of social media and a newfound life in America, Davinder Kaur found her voice and a platform to raise awareness about forced marriage.

She began retweeting articles, supporting organisations, and gradually started sharing her own experiences. 

A Message of Hope & Change

Davinder Kaur: Engaged at 14, Forced to Marry & Raped by Her Husband

Today, Davinder stands as a beacon of hope and resilience.

Her advocacy work has made a profound impact, inspiring others to break free from the chains of forced marriage and challenge cultural norms that perpetuate abuse.

But before diving into the tremendous work she is doing, she wanted to further emphasise the magnitude of what she has overcome and how others can replicate the same perseverance:

“Unfortunately, I faced domestic abuse again in a subsequent marriage, and I had to reach out and get help.

“That night I was put into a shelter and it was on New Year’s Eve in San Diego.

“But if I hadn’t got help, that night, I would’ve been in danger again.

“At that time in my life, I had my oldest child. She was just a baby and I had to protect her and myself.

“It’s scary being alone with a baby, but you have to put your safety and well-being first.

“You cannot stay with someone who’s violated you.

“But there are a number of charities in the UK and in the US.

“There’s Karma Nirvana, The Sharon Project, and various others, so I feel victims in the UK should reach out to them.

“I also am aware of the initiative that some UK airports where girls would have a metal object and it would set the metal detector off so they could be taken to one side to see if they’re at risk.

“As far as the work that I have done advocating for victims of forced marriage and domestic abuse, I have volunteered for Unchained At Last.

“I have been mentoring someone for two and a half years.

“She’s a victim of forced marriage, so I speak to her every two weeks and counsel her.

“Ever since 2010, since I first told my story at San Diego State, I have been on social media and spreading awareness about forced marriage and child marriage.

“I think there’s a lot of people who are oblivious that this is happening.

“So I feel it’s my duty to talk about this.

“I also wrote my book, Forced To Marry Him. It recently won an award and I’m so proud of that.

“I hope people will pick up my book and read my story and maybe it can give strength to someone.

“Maybe people, future victims, potential victims will be even stronger than me.

“I was disowned just for writing this book. But, it was something that had to be done, I had to tell the story.

“I think each person who’s strong enough to speak up will be another voice in spreading awareness until there are more people that are hearing this.

“There are honour killings happening when girls say no.

“So we have to spread the awareness and let it be known that there have to be changes made. And this has to happen in every single country in the world.”

Today, Davinder Kaur resides away from the torment that once defined her existence.

Her journey from a forced marriage survivor to a powerful advocate resonates globally.

Using her voice as a weapon against the insidious spectrum of forced and child marriages, Davinder tirelessly raises awareness.

Through her book Forced to Marry Him, Davinder offers a powerful testament to her strength and determination, while sending a clear message that violation of human rights must be eradicated.

Her memoir serves as a piercing exposé, unveiling the agony inflicted upon women worldwide under the cloak of tradition.

However, the struggles and abuse she faced serve as a stark reminder that the fight against forced marriages is far from over.

As a dedicated humanitarian, tireless activist, and driving force for change, Davinder Kaur’s deeply poignant narrative illustrates the unspoken realities that can unfold within a Desi household.

Yet, in her remarkable journey of resilience, Davinder emerges as a fearless individual who defied all odds to liberate herself from a tumultuous existence.

Her unwavering courage serves as a powerful catalyst, shining a spotlight on her own lived experiences and extending a lifeline of understanding and support to others who may find themselves navigating similar challenges.

If you or another person are suffering from domestic abuse or are personally affected by any of the themes in this article, do not suffer in silence reach out for help immediately.

You can contact Davinder Kaur to learn about new campaigns and volunteer opportunities or be pointed in the right direction for the right help – https://www.forcedtomarryhim.com/ and also reach her on her Instagram handle luchanik



Balraj is a spirited Creative Writing MA graduate. He loves open discussions and his passions are fitness, music, fashion, and poetry. One of his favourite quotes is “One day or day one. You decide.”

Images courtesy of Davinder Kaur.

The above claims are made by Davinder Kaur as related to her personal experiences. However, her family denies the claims and statements made by Davinder Kaur in this interview and article.





  • What's New

    MORE

    "Quoted"

  • Polls

    How often do you Exercise?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...
  • Share to...