Forced Marriage

EQ: How can forced marriages be prevented?

Opium Brides

  • In the Afghan countryside, many local farm families borrow money from the Taliban

  • Most families repay the Taliban with opium they grow

  • Soldiers from the Afghan government come to these places and destroy the opium fields and leave many families with next to nothing to give back

  • When the families are unable to give opium as payment, they are forced to give their family members (in most cases the kids).

  • Sometimes the Taliban holds the family member hostage until the parents pay back the money, but in other cases they (children, usually) are married off, never to be seen again.

  • Some families do try to flee but very rarely make it because of the Taliban soldiers stationed everywhere.

Child Marriages

Too Young To Wed

Forced marriage occurs in more than 50 developing countries around the world and it usually happens to underage children as young as 5-16 years old. Once the girl had been wed, it would all depend on her age. If the girl was younger and/or "underdeveloped", she would stay with her aunt, uncle, or grandparents until she had gone through puberty and then be sent off to their husband.

But, after the girl had moved in with her husband, if she ever went against what her husband said, or did something without asking, she could harmed and/or punished. In many cases, when the people are taking her to her husband, they cover the girls face so if they try to run away they would have nowhere to go but back to where they were taken.

The marriage almost always results in the girls removal from school. Some even become pregnant as young as 14 and have to abandon any hobbies/jobs that have when that baby is born, just so the girl can focus only on caring for the child and doing household jobs.

The most common reason to give up children is to settle debts for families.

Parental Arrangments

“I tried to kill myself... I didn’t want to get married, but I was forced to get engaged.”

This sentence is despairingly similar to those you would hear from many other victims of forced marriage. Many of the girls try to take their own life rather than be wed, and/or once they've been wed. Some of these girls are so terrified of punishment that even if they'd done something as simple as not make the tea hot enough, they'd rather commit suicide. An example of one of these extreme punishments is, in one case, a woman had gone out to visit her mother, but without checking with her husband, and when she arrived back the husband was so infuriated that he threw acid in the woman's face.

Stopping Forced Marriages

  • increase public awareness
  • reduce gender-based violence
  • Have more governments do the conditional cash transfer (if it is affordable, which in most countries where forced marriage is, the government is either greedy or poor and could/would not do this) A conditional cash transfer is where they provide families with a small payment upon the birth of a girl if the girl would still remain unmarried by the age of 18
Already, there are plans like this going around. In the UK's airports, if young women hide spoons or anything metal in their undergarments, airport security will take them away to inqire if the woman is involved in an arranged marriage. If she is being unwillingly forced into one, the security would keep her in a secluded place until her flight left so that she could avoid that marriage.


Works Cited

Arango, Tim. "Where Arranged Marriages Are Customary, Suicides Grow More Common." The New York Times. The New York Times, 06 June 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2014.

Azango, Mae. "Married At 13 - Young Girls Forced Into Adulthood in Liberia." Opposing Viewpoints. Africa News Service, 7 Nov. 2014. Web. 5 Dec. 2014.

Constable, Pamela. "Afghan Women Gain Education and Rights but Still Face Abuse, Forced Marriages." Washington Post. The Washington Post, 25 Sept. 2013. Web. 10 Dec. 2014.

"Girls Escape Forced Marriage by Concealing Spoons in Clothing to Set off Metal Detectors at the Airport." The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media, 15 Aug. 2013. Web. 10 Dec. 2014.

"National Geographic Live! - Too Young to Wed." YouTube. YouTube, 31 Oct. 2011. Web. 05 Dec. 2014.

Opium Brides. Dir. 2. Perf. Najibullah Quraishi. PBS. PBS, 3 Jan. 2012. Web. 04 Dec. 2014.

"​​USAID Announces New Resources to Prevent Child, Early, and Forced Marriage." U.S. Agency for International Development. USAID, n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2014