In recent years, forced marriage increasingly became a focus of attention in public, political and scientific discourses especially with regard to migration processes and the integration of specific migrant communities. Forced marriage is regarded as a form of domestic violence and a human rights violation. This paper scrutinises popular understandings and common scientific definitions of forced marriage by locating it at the intersection of various forms of social inequality in the context of violence and migration. Based on the analysis of narrations of victims and experts, the study identifies traditionalist practices, misinterpretations of religious obligations, socio-economic deprivation, and experiences of discrimination and marginalisation in the context of immigration as the most relevant factors behind forced marriage. We believe that in order to capture the complex interplay of causes and effects of forced marriage one needs a multifaceted approach which 1) questions the existing public and political discourses on e.g. the so called ‘harmful traditional practices’, 2) evaluates the existing intervention and prevention measures, the legal instruments and their implementation (e.g. the Austrian violence protection act or the international trend to raise age limits for marriages with non-European citizens) and 3) continually contrasts these with the experiences of victims and the views of experts.