Early marriage remains one of the main problems of modern societies. Reasons, why a premature girl gets married, are diverse. However, child marriage violates girls’ rights to health, education, and other opportunities in life.
UN states that 37,000 girls under the age of 18 face child marriage each day. Today we have the highest number of early marriages among girls especially.
Many experiences and personal stories prove that such marriages can have disastrous effects. Keep reading to learn more about basic reasons of such marriages. Discover countries, cultures, and religions where an early marriage is common.
Let’s Understand What is Early Marriage?
Child marriage is any formal or informal union where one or both of the parties are premature. In other words, the minimum age for marriage is 18. This is what is stated by international law.
There are many other international and regional agreements against an early marriage as it is considered to be a violation of human rights.
However, especially in case of a marriage of a premature girl traditions and culture take priority over legislation. Even in the 21st century, just a handful people voice the problem which has psychological effects on children.
Countries located in East Asia, North America, Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa make the list of 20 main states with the highest rate of an early marriage among girls.
Actually, a child marriage is a complex issue. It happens because of various reasons. Gender inequality is one of the main incentives. In these regions, a girl is inferior to a boy.
What does this mean? Is a girl a burden for her family? Traditions, as well as inadequate laws, are other reasons. A premature girl gets married just because it has happened for generations.
What’s interesting about this is that women from those societies just keep silent as well. How can this make sense? Should such traditional practices go unquestioned just because they are part of the particular culture?
Once the widow of Nelson Mandela said: “traditions are made by people – and people can unmake them”.
So bold spirits, do not hesitate to make changes! Among other reasons poverty also has a huge impact. Nearly in all stories about an early marriage of a premature girl she is from a poorer family. A marriage is viewed as a secure way of a solution in this case.
Effects of Early Marriage on a Girls
It goes without saying that child marriage affects all aspects of a girl’s life. Various personal stories come to prove that an early marriage is a violence against a girl. Accordingly, no violence can be excused in the name of culture or traditions.
The effects of such violence can be dangerous for girls. Every single minute 28 girls are forced to marry at an early age. This actually endangers their well-being and personal development.
It is here that many psychological problems arise. Studies show that a premature girl neither physically nor emotionally is ready to get married. So being isolated she feels disempowered, depressed and helpless.
On top of this, she has no right to education, safety, and health. As a result, she is more likely to live in poverty for whole her life.
This affects public health level as well. Children born after early marriage can have some health problems. So why does this happen? Probably the role of a girl to the overall development of the society is undervalued.
If it is so, then such societies even without releasing it, restrict their opportunities and chances for better and stable growth. An educated woman makes the world a better place for everyone to live.
Early Marriage as a Way of Violence Against Girls
When learning that someone is getting married you never think of violence. You just imagine the happy couple who is going to spend their whole life together in peace.
Unfortunately, this is not the case with child marriage. Usually, a girl under 18 is forced to get married AGAINST her will. Right on the very first day of marriage, her life turns into a complete mess. In other words, early marriage leads to a violence against a premature girl.
The effects are irreversible. As a married woman, a girl experiences psychological physical and sexual violence by her husband. Studies have shown that child wives are likely to be beaten or slapped quite often.
However, the disastrous effects of such marriages go beyond physical violence. Psychological problems are no exception as well. Abused women become depressed. This can lead to alcohol or drug addiction.
Sexual abuse is another problem caused by early marriage. Worse still, the attempts of suicide become more common. Maybe all this happens because women and girls cannot just get rid of such abusive life because of shame and inability to secure themselves. This actually makes such violence against them life-long.
The Consequences of Early Marriage
Generally, the tradition of early marriages had started from medieval times. The young were married off for various reasons – protecting the females from foreign rulers, preventing the conversion of religion, to strengthen military and political alliances between kingdoms and cast system.
Maybe for middle ages, it was alright and they didn’t even pay attention to devastating consequences. However, today early marriage can drive to unpleasant results. So when a girl is forced to marry at a premature age most part of her basic human rights are lost or undermined.
Girls often drop out of school to have more children over their lifetime. And instead of going to school or playing with friends, many girls are responsible for childcare and must cook, fetch water, and work in the fields.
This brings to low literacy level among women which impacts the whole society. An illiterate mother can never teach or bring her children up properly. Accordingly, kids become morally and intellectually incompetent.
It’s the circle of life. Then these kids grow up, marry at an early age and have the very same life. However, illiteracy is not the only consequence early marriage can have. Crimes and violence rates go up in societies with a higher level of premature marriages.
The lack of education and adequate and sufficient resources hinders them from having a better life. Accordingly, kids steal, beat and commit other crimes unconsciously.
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