The book is biographical of what happened to the writer Jasvinder Sanghera, Jasvinder is an indian women who grew up in Derby in England she is one of seven daughters with 1 brother
When Jasvinder was fourteen, she was shown a photo of the man chosen to be her husband. She was terrified as she had witnessed the torment her sisters endured in their arranged marriages.
Her sisters would be sent to India during a school break and return to the UK alone but married to strangers. The husbands would follow later after their paperwork cleared immigration. The sisters coming back and working to pay for the cost of bringing their new husband to England
At school she had a friend who has a brother called Jassey, she ends up seeing him every week and they find they like each other,
One day she decides to tell her mother about Jassey, with this her mother locks her in her bedroom until she says she will marry the man her parents have chosen for her.
After she tells her parents she will marry she runs away finding where Jassey works, waiting for him to come out he sees her and they start a life together.
Being away from her family as most would find was really lonely, by running away she had given up everything that she knew, her parents, aunties, uncles, sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews, also the knowledge of who she was, she was aimless as she had grown up in a cocoon not knowing which way to turn, her family seeing her in the street would look straight through her, her mother not there when she had her first child. This she had given away as she didn't want to go into an arranged marriage where she felt she would be treated as a second class citizen.
After a few months of being away from her family she calls, her mother answering and abusing her tell Jasvinder that she has brought SHAME to the family and she never wants to speak to her again.Her younger sister Lucy starts to talk to her and moves in with her at one stage as their mother tries to make an arranged marriage for her as well, one day Lucy rings Jasvinder to tell her that one of their other sisters has died Robina, she had burned herself to death after being bullied mercilessly by her husband.
Jasvinder Sanghera (London Times)
…Every year a couple of Asian girls would
disappear from school during the holidays. I had a vision of myself clinging to
my bed, refusing to leave the house. I overheard Robina [the author's sister]
talking to a friend. I only caught snatches - “sleeping pills . . . carried onto
the plane . . . woke up in a taxi” — but I knew what they meant. Surely Dad
wouldn’t let them do that…
At the end of Shame, Sanghera wrote: “Did you know that the suicide rate among young Asian women in Britain is three times the national average? I believe that many of them, like Robina, are driven to kill themselves; it’s just a cleaner, more convenient form of murder.”
In 2007 Sanghera was honoured as Britain’s Woman of the Year and the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act became law, giving the state the power to pre-empt forced marriages. The ensuing Forced Marriage Unit is contacted by about 5000 people a year.