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Child Marriage

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    A child is the greatest blessing and a gift from God to parents, whether it is a girl or a boy. Every child deserves love, support and education. But unfortunately, there are a lot of people who still prefer having a baby boy instead of a baby girl. There are a lot of parents of still think that having a child girl is a curse. Parents who think so, are able to prevent their daughters from life, school and childhood. Unfortunately, our society still lives with the opinion that child girls must get married soon, gave birth children, take care of husband, and stay in the kitchen all the day long. Children are meant to play, enjoy life and go to school. Children are young to get married. They are still babies to carry their babies. Adolescence is a time that young children focus on education and gain skills to be used in childhood. But unfortunately, for some girls around the world, child marriage puts an end to their childhood or any possibility of further personal growth and development.

    A child marriage is considered as a crime against children and their rights. By forcing a child into marriage, you are leaving her to face a lot of problems that are too big for her age. Our society knows a lot of girls who committed suicide, some of them choose to leave their families, and a great amount of them had to face these everyday problems and get married. They have to spend a whole life with a husband who is much older than them. They have to go through violence and abuse.

    Child marriage is considered as the violation of the human rights, and according to Unicef:” It contradicts several international agreements, including: Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage, Registration of Marriage, and Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) .”

    Child marriage affects both boys and girls, but girls are those who are affected more and with a greater intensity. According to United Nations Children’s Fund:”Child marriage among girls is most common in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, and there are found 10 countries with the highest rates. Niger has the highest overall number of child marriages in the world. However, Bangladesh has the highest rate of marriages among girls under age 15. South Asia is home to almost half of all child brides worldwide.”

    No country is free from these marriages, and this phenomenon has brought many victims before us. By marrying a young child, you are preventing him/her to be someone important in the future. You are separating them from their childhood, joy and only seeking their days in tears. How can you trust an unknown man to raise your own daughter?! Child marriage still has a rapid progress around the world, but we have to stop this phenomenon for the bright future of our children and country.

    Which are the reasons behind child marriage?

    There are a lot of reasons why child marriage is happening all over the globe. In poor countries, this bad phenomenon is happening because women are seen as a financial burden to their family. Those families who have more than 3 daughters arrange marriages for them while they are still young, in order to reduce their economic burden. Also, young girls are married off as a substitute for money, or to settle conflicts. But not always money is the only reason for child marriages. In many cultures, girls that are not virgin anymore are considered immoral and unsuitable for marriage, so their families marries them off to ensure that they will be virgins untill the marriage. In some countries that are still experiencing the war, they marry off their child girls while they are young because they are afraid that they daughters will be raped by soldiers. Another important factor behind child marriages is food. Fatma, a girl from Rohingya tells her story when she got married as a 12 years old. She said:”My parents gave me to my husband because they couldn’t afford to feed me. When I got married, I just thought my husband would feed me, I didn’t understand what he would do.”

    For sure that a young girls of that age did not understand anything about the sexual intercourse between a woman and a man because she is still young. She even did not know her body at all because her body changes through the period of menstruation. Also, Mohamad, a community leader, said:”Parents don’t want to marry off their daughters, but they need to eat.” In some countries, girls are those who choose marriage at a young age because their families are poor and they hope that they will find a better place to live. Another reason behind child marriage can be poverty. Most of the child marriages happen in rural areas of the countries. Parents who have a child girl and do not earn much money, then they choose for her an early marriage instead of her education. Gender inequality can be another reason for the marriage of child. Even today, in some countries people consider a boy as a good luck whereas a girls as a curse. They do not have proper education, rights, food, clothes, even though they are siblings. For some parents, the lack of education can be considered another big reason behind child marriage. People who are not educated have no idea how important is education for their children, and they do not know the complications after marriage that their daughters will face in the future during pregnancy.

    Every year nearly 15 million children, between 10 to 12 years old, get married worldwide. This means that every 2 seconds a child gets married. Children are not psychologically prepared to get married, give birth children or to be abused mentally or sexually. Sadia, a 14 years old mother, raported for the New York Times. She said:”Motherhood is hard. When they get sick, you don’t understand why. I don’t have experience and don’t know what to do with him, probably because of my age. I sleep very little. He doesn’t cry much but he wants to be held all the time.”

    There are different age limits for men and women, when it is time for marriage. For example:“In Egypt the legal age to marry off a girl is 16, whereas in India and Ethiopia it is 18. In Afghanistan, between 60 to 80 percent of child marriages are considered as forced marriages.” According to a new Pew Research Center analysis, at least 117 nations, including here the United States allow child marriage. In Bangladesh, women must be 18 years old and men must be 21 years old in order to have a legal right in marriage. In Sudan, girls can marry at 10, and boys at 15 years old. In Philippines , couples must reach 21 years to marry without permission. If they are Muslim, then boys can marry at 15 and girls can marry when they reach the time of puberty with the first appearance of menstruation. In Afghanistan, the legal age for marriage is 16 for girls and 18 for boys. In Albania and Kosovo, the legal age for a legal marriage is 18 for both boys and girls,but under-age marriages happen in rural areas and between Romani communities. According to Pew Research Center:”Only six countries do not have a specified minimum age for marriage, and they are: Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Saudia Arabia, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.

    Since child marriage is still present all around the world, there are laws against this phenomenon and penalties for the people who committ this crime and break the rules. Even though, these laws are often ignored in all countries. “If you marry a child in Tanzania, you will get 30 years in prison.” “In Pakistan,someone who forces a child into marriage will face a minimum of five years in prison and may serve up to ten years. They also face a fine of up to 1 million rupees .” According to the Criminal Code of Kosovo:”A person who forces a child, under the age of 18, to marry should be imprisoned for between 2 and 10 years. When the offense is committed by a parent or guardian, the prison sentence should be between 5 and 10 years where the child is aged o14 to 16, or at least 15 years if the child is under 14.”

    Child marriage impacts a lot on the society and this is not as good as some of the people may think. According to the International Center for Research on Women: “There are five economic impacts of child marriages in five areas: fertility and population growth; educational attainment and learning; labour force participation; participation, decision-making and investments; and health, nutrition and violence.” Fertility and population growth can be harmful for countries like India and China because these developing countries are struggling with rising population.

    A child marriage has a lot of consequences and medical problems to girls who are married below 18 years. According to Dr.Malik: “A young girl who is married off at a young age will face problems in: obstetric, physical, mental, emotional, and social health.” According to Dr.Malik: “Many of young brides have under-developed pelvis which are too small for the baby to pass through conveniently. The pressure destroys the tissue leading to bizarre, irritating, and the child mother might lose the control of urine. Also, the child mother can face higher risk of infections before, during, and after childbirth.” These infections can cause the death of the babies that are born from a child mother.

    Young brides and grooms are children. They are meant to play, to explore, and to discover things. They are young to face the problems of adulthood, such as: marriage and family. By marrying them off while still young, they go through loneliness,isolation and depression. And for sure this is called an emotional disease. Young brides do not have the priviledge to choose their husband, so they feel powerless. They are not able to create a warmness in their marriage and family. They do not have the opportunity to learn and to be educated. All that is offered to them is violence and abuse. They are economically dependent from their husband, and when they do not have what their need, then try to kill themselves. Girl brides are more likely to become infected with HIV than unmarried girls.

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    Child Marriage. (2022, Mar 24). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/child-marriage/

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