Child Marriage

Human Rights Watch interviewed a girl named Sharon who is a victim of a practice I have spoken about before called Forced Child Marriage. Sharon J.’s marriage at age 14 in Tanzania ended her hopes for the future: “My dream was to study to be a journalist. Until today, when I watch news or listen to the radio and someone is reading news, it causes me a lot of pain because I wish it were me.” she said. Around the world, marriage is often idealized as ushering in love, happiness, and security some of the best things in a girls life. But for Sharon and other girls, getting married is often one of the worst things that can happen. Roughly one in three girls in the developing world marries before age 18; one in nine marries before turning 15. At the moment, never before seen attention is being paid to child marriage globally. Prominent voices in and out of government—including those of Sheikh Hasina, the prime minister of Bangladesh, and Joyce Banda, the former president of Malawi—have publicly committed to fight child marriage in their countries. Some countries have taken some steps in the right direction but it is not true for all countries. The main causes of child marriage vary across regions and communities but often center around control over girls’ sexuality. Quite frankly there are way too many factors involved in child marriage but there is one thing that is known that it is extremely detrimental to the health and wellbeing of the children involved. Have you experienced child marriage or seen it up close? Tell us your experiences.

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