Child Marriage

The Nagle Student Series – Part Two: Abbey Alvin

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[Abbey Alvin]

Forced marriage is also known as child marriage. It is said to be when two unions under the age of 18 are forced to unite. This is usually set up from a young age in many cultures and is seen as a norm. Although this is the start of many people being born and forced into poverty. To put it into perspective into our world each year, 15 million girls are married before the age of 18.That is 28 girls every minute. 1 Every 2 seconds.

Child marriage occurs globally, and is something that seems to go under the radar. Many Religions and countries have child marriage occurring every day, including people from the Middle East to Latin America, South Asia to Europe, yet it is most commonly found in South East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, with Niger. It is also more commonly known in rural areas due to female’s status’ being much lower than men and them not being given the opportunity to find their own love but instead forced into marriage be bound to someone with a higher status.

Many people do not understand why people are being forced into marriage and also the health impact on the people affected. Children are in a weaker position to give free, full and informed consent to marriage than adults; this is therefore why these people are more vulnerable to the chance in being forced into marriage. It is a very complex issue with many underlying issues prompting the problem. These include poverty, lack of education, cultural practices, and insecurities. Gaps in the law in many countries still seem to be a major problem in why females are being treated as inferior. If the laws were corrected to help with gender equality this could also help in ending forced marriage.

Physically and emotionally, these children are not ready to become wives and mothers…

The impact of child marriage does not only affect these children in the present time but also into the future. Physically and emotionally, these children are not ready to become wives and mothers, these child brides are at greater risk of experiencing dangerous complications in pregnancy and childbirth, contracting HIV/AIDS and suffering domestic violence from their associated life partner. With little access to education and economic opportunities, they and their families are more likely to live in poverty. Poverty in the underlying issue in Forced marriage, and if we could reduce the amount of people being forced into this situation, this could help reduce the amount of people stuck in poverty and are unable to do anything about it.

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