Thank God for the fact that we live in a free society. Thank God for the fact that we have the freedom to make our own decisions when it comes to relationships. Thank God for the fact that our children are free; free to enjoy their childhood. They are free to enjoy their teen years and do the things that children are meant to do. How much people are aware that in many parts of the world little girls are not allowed this freedom. Many are forced into adulthood the moment they hit puberty.
Child marriage is a big problem in some countries mainly in Asia and Sub Saharan Africa. It is also prevalent in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Latin America. Girls as young as five years old are wed to men, four, five, six or even seven times their age. These little girls are robbed of their childhood, their rights as human being to have freedom of choice and their very dignity.
Although child marriage is illegal in India, the country accounts for about 40 percent of the world child marriages cases. Every year millions of Indian girls forced into marriage. Rajasthan is the center-point of India’s child marriages. More than half the girls born there become child brides before the age of fifteen . Poverty is one of the main reason. Many of India’s rural poor live on less than a dollar a day. Poor families sell their children into marriages either to settle debts to make some money to alleviate their poverty. Girls are viewed as burdens and marrying off a daughter means one less mouth to feed. These little girls suffer mentally, physically, emotionally and educationally.
April and May are popular months for marriages in Rajasthan and villages hold thousand of ceremonies. To evade the law the marriages are often performed in secret , usually late at night and outsiders are not allowed to attend them. The bride will remain at home until puberty then she will go and live with her husband and while little girls in other societies are enjoying their childhood years she will be busy washing, cooking, cleaning the house and making babies. Many of these girls will die giving birth.
Girls who marry between the ages of ten and fourteen are five times more likely to die during pregnancy or childbirth as against women in their twenty’s.
- 2030: A World Free Of Child Marriage (news.yourolivebranch.org)
- NGO prevents child marriage (thehindu.com)