Child Brides, There’s More to It Than You Think

The heartbreaking reality of child marriage. (Screenshot/YouTube)
The heartbreaking reality of child marriage. (Screenshot/YouTube)

As a father of 4 girls, I find it hard to understand how parents can allow their daughters to get married before they’re even 15 years of age. I know that some do it to protect them or for the money, but as a dad I can no longer sit in silence.

“Awareness of the problem has grown in recent years, as has knowledge about the best strategies to combat it, but the new challenge is to scale up the effort”, said Geeta Rao Gupta, UNICEF‘s deputy executive director.

In the developing world, one third of girls are married before they reach the age of 18. One in nine of them is married before they are even 15. There are approximately 142 million girls who will be married over the next decade if the present trend continues, and that will be an average of 14.2 million each year.

Watch this National Geographic program, Too Young to Wed:

Girls who come from poor households are nearly twice as likely to be forced into marriage before they turn 18 than those from higher income households. Even though the countries with high numbers of child marriage are concentrated in Western and Sub-Saharan Africa, the largest is South Asia.

Here, a 13-year-old girl speaks out against early marriage:

In countries like Niger, Mali, Mozambique, and Bangladesh, more than half of the marriages will be with girls who are under the age of 18.

Education plays a big role, as girls with higher levels of schooling are less likely to marry as children.

Pregnancy is still one of the leading causes of death in girls aged from 15 to 19 worldwide; in fact, girls under 15 during childbirth are five times more likely to die then someone in their 20s.

Forced marriage in Australia Four Corners

Girls who marry before the age of 18 experience more domestic violence than those who marry later. A study that was conducted by ICRW in India found girls who married before 18 were twice as likely to report being beaten, slapped, or threatened by their husbands than girls who married later.

25,000 girls a day worldwide are married before the age of 18:

In an ICRW study conducted in 2007, they found that there was no one religious affiliation associated with child marriage, but there was a variety of them in countries throughout the world, including Australia, the UK, and the US.

After watching these videos, I was sickened and saddened that this is happening on such a large scale. I can’t help but think that if governments spent just a little more time on the things that really matter than the silly nonsense they go on with, things may just be a little better for innocent children.

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