The Truth Behind This Tradition
Forced Child Marriage
Introduction to Forced Child Marriage
Each day, nearly 39,000 girls under the age of eighteen become child brides. That is roughly around one girl every two seconds according to the CARE Organization. The minute these girls get married, their entire life is destroyed. Forcing children to marry can greatly ruin their education and opportunities in the future.
- Today, forced child marriage is practiced all around the world and can be found in almost every region, from the Middle East to Latin America and from South Asia to Europe. It can even be found in the United States. Shockingly, nearly 3,000 cases are documented in the U.S. every year (Bregman).
- The most common area is Niger. Niger is the number one country where a girl is more likely to marry than go to school. In Niger, 76% of girls fall victims to marriage before they turn eighteen.
- There are numerous reasons why child marriage is practiced around the world, such as tradition, sexual orientation, gender roles, poverty, honor, and security. Child marriage happens in many countries simply because it has been happening for generations.
- If a family happens to stray away from the tradition, then they may end up being excluded from the community.
- Girls as young as eight in Africa are forced to go to camps where they learn how to please men in bed, hygiene, domestic rules, and how to conduct themselves in the community.
- If parents do not take their daughters to these initiations, community leaders will fine them.
- These sexual initiations begin once a girl hits puberty.
- The victim can also be subject to physical and sexual abuse, including rape
- Girls who also marry before the age of eighteen are less likely to remain in school and are more likely to experience domestic violence.
- Child brides are also more likely to be beaten or threatened by their husbands than girls who marry later.
- Limiting all this power from their marriage make women more susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases
- Death caused by pregnancy and childbirth is fatal for girls aged between 15 and 19 worldwide. There are at least 70,000 deaths each year because of this.
We Can Do Something!
- Most of these organizations claim that making laws won’t help unless we tackle basic problems like poverty, hunger, and a girl's position in society.
- We can also convince religious and traditional leaders, communicate with communities.
- We can use social media such as radios, television, and newspapers to spread awareness
- It is also very important to involve men and boys, fathers, future husbands, and leaders.