Child Marriage is synonymous to slavery. It is a human rights violation. Despite several laws made, the practice remains widespread; the reasons are “persistent poverty” and “gender inequality”. The condition is such that one in every three girls is married before the set age of 18 and one in every 9 is married under the age of 15.
Getting a girl married in her childhood is like injecting viruses in the host and letting things get worse on their own. It not only threatens girl’s lives and health but also limits her future prospects. Girls who’re pressed or pressurized to marry often turns pregnant in their adolescence, increasing the risk of complications in pregnancy or parturition (childbirth). These complications are a major cause of death among older adolescents specifically in developing nations.
Child marriage as aforementioned is a main result of gender inequality, like girls are married to a man older than them. Like Faiz Mohammed, 40 married Ghulam Haider, 11 in Damarda Village of Afghanistan in 2005. Girls who marry before the age of 18 are much more likely to be the victims of domestic violence-and much less likely to attain education than those who marry as adults. “Pregnancy has become the second most leading cause of death among the girls ages 15-19 globally”, says World Health Organization. Nine out of ten births among the girls in that age bracket occur within marriage. And child brides are much likely intended to do suicide which is the third leading cause of death among adolescents globally than other young people. Making marriage is one of the most statistically hazardous activities an adolescent girl can participate in.
In Lebanon, the age of consent to marry is set by religious tribunals and varies from region to region, but in certain areas, girls who’ve attained the age of 14 can marry without parental consent and for those with a parents’ approval, the legal age is 9. Most of the child marriages go unregistered and uncounted, but still 6 percent of Lebanese girls marry before the age of 18 and one percent before 15.
As aforementioned girls are mostly married to an older man.1 in 7 girls is married by the age of 15 in certain developing nations to a man twice or even thrice of her age. These child brides are then separated from their families, friends and are unkempt to school or attain education. They’re at a verge or at a higher risk of violence, HIV and death during pregnancy or childbirth as their body is not adapted to such things.
The consequences of this practice are adverse and grim often deadly. These child brides have a little or diminished chance of completing their education, in developing them or living life as they want to. All these results in limited opportunities and income-earning potential later in life. These little girls are twice more likely to be beaten or threatened with violence by their second half than girls who marry later in their adulthood.
Child marriage is a violation of child rights, and has an adverse impact on physical growth, health, mental and emotional development, and education opportunities. It affects the society as a whole since child marriage reinforces a cycle of poverty and perpetuates gender discrimination, illiteracy and malnutrition as well as infant and maternal mortality rates. Thus, in turn child marriage impacts on almost all facets of reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (previously called as Millennium Development Goals).