Q: Can your Belfast Lie Detector Test Examiner help my best friend who I believe is being forced into marriage?
My best friend’s parents were born in Pakistan but my friend Andaleeb (not her real name) was born in Belfast after her parents moved here.
A few years ago when she was 12 she was due to go to Pakistan for an arranged marriage. At the time she got whooping cough and was unable to travel. She spoke quite openly to me about it and seemed to think it was the norm. It has never been brought up since.
Now she is 18 and at university with me. In recent weeks she has become extremely depressed. We share a room in student accommodation and I often find her crying. When I ask her what’s wrong she says she is just low. She is due to go on holiday to Pakistan with her parents shortly so I thought she would be looking forward to it. The fact that she isn’t makes me wonder if she is being married off by her parents again.
She’s had a very strict upbringing in comparison to mine but she is more western than not. I think she is afraid and I want to help her. I’ve spoken to my parents and they suggested perhaps a lie detector test would help. They’ve even offered to pay for it.
I know your tests help with many situations but if I can persuade her to take a test do you think it will help?
E. R., Belfast
Response from our Belfast Polygraph Examiner on Forced Marriage
Forced marriage is illegal in Northern Ireland under the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007. Guidelines on the handling of these situations were updated in June 2014.
If Andaleeb has had a strict upbringing as you put it she will very likely be torn between her parents’ wishes and her own. She may also be afraid to open up to you or people close to her in case you take some action. There have been some awful repercussions documented in the UK when a daughter goes against her parents’ wishes.
This case needs to be handled sensitively. A lie detector test will certainly elicit the truth of the situation. Andaleeb may agree to take a test since she will be speaking to a person she has never met before and is unlikely to meet again. The test results are completely confidential.
In the pre-test interview our Belfast polygraph examiner will get to know her and build her trust. If it is found a marriage has been arranged that she does not want to progress with there are plenty of organisations that can help her.
I suggest you call our Free Helpline on 85 176 3360 to discuss this further. The situation needs to be handled very carefully.