A campaign has been launched in Scotland to encourage Asian women forced into abusive marriages to come out in the open and speak about their ordeals.
It is reported that hundreds of Asian Scotswomen have been forced into abusive marriages. Strathclyde Police and advice group Meridian highlighted the problem at a Glasgow conference this week.
The campaign has the support of the police and community groups. Police said countless women suffer threats and violence at the hands of their families or fiances to ensure these unions take place. But most are too scared to report the abuse - or think it is the norm.
Acting chief inspector Tom Harrigan said he believed 'hundreds' of women have been pressurised into marriage.
Of 60 cases uncovered in Edinburgh in the past three years, only one was reported to the police.
Harrigan said: "We think people don't come forward because of family, cultural and community issues. Forced marriage is not a crime but there are associated crimes. People are abducted and there is violence and threats of violence."
Meridian manager Brij Gandhi sees up to 20 affected women each year. She said: "They come to us with a benefits problem and in the course of the conversation say, 'I've experienced domestic abuse.'"
An Indian-born Sikh woman who lives in Glasgow left the husband - who was forced on her at 19 - after he beat her so badly that she miscarried. Now 54, she said tradition did not need to include forced marriage, adding: "I will find a boy for my daughter but if she doesn't like him, I will find her another."
Meridian project activists say that overcoming the cultural taboo surrounding the issue is the key to tackling it.