Celebrating the international day of the girl child, a child right organization has discovered that in the world over, underage girls are married off every 7 seconds. This new and shocking study results from the charity group coincides with the International girl child day.
The study affirms that under-aged girls, as young as 10, are given out in marriage in areas like Afghanistan, Yemen, India and Somalia.
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As can be seen, the trend revolves around culture and perhaps religion. In recent times, African countries are rising against child marriages regardless of religious and cultural origin.
Marking the International girl child day, activists are sensitizing women and children in various media and educational platforms.
As a pressing need in remote parts of the world, the United States first Lady Michelle Obama, conducted a tour in several African countries to sensitize the growing generation of women on the bases of empowerment.
Beyond the religious and cultural origin of the practice, Save The Children, UK, reports that marrying off young girls have a whole lot of disadvantages than advantages.
First off it was discovered that these young girls are exposed to health hazards and infections beyond their understanding and control. They are also exposed to more chances of not getting educated and being sexually abused.
Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Save the Children International CEO, said:
“Child marriage starts a cycle of disadvantage that denies girls the most basic rights to learn, develop and be children,”
“Girls who marry too early often can’t attend school, and are more likely to face domestic violence, abuse and rape. They fall pregnant and are exposed to STIs (sexually transmitted infections) including HIV.”
Save the Children, UK, went on to rank countries that are impeding on women empowerment by virtue of “schooling, child marriage, teen pregnancy, maternal deaths and the number of women in parliament”.
Sadly, African countries like Chad, Niger, Central African Republic, Mali and Somalia had a shocking and discouraging statistics.
The child rights organization also found that refugee children often fall victim of becoming child brides. This is because their parents believe it is a way of keeping them from sexual exploitation and perhaps to reduce their parenting burden.
A Syrian refugee and child bride was reported to have said:
“The wedding day, I was imagining it would be a great day but it wasn’t. It was all misery. It was full of sadness.”
“I feel really blessed that I am having a baby. But I am a child raising a child.”
The UN children’s agency, Unicef, estimates that the number of women married in childhood will grow from 700 million today to around 950 million by 2030.
The international girl child day is celebrated every 11th October.