Marriage as a tool of child abuse

While our daughters in the West play at dressing up to look like a bride or a Princess bride young girls in the Global South are being forced to get married. The practice of child brides involves girls as young as 12 being forced by their poverty stricken families to get married. Sometimes an early marriage occurs because rape is a common incident in the village where the girl lives and a raped female carries a stigma which attaches itself to her family too.

One less mouth to feed is most commonly the incentive for these girls to be given away by their parents. These girls have to give up their childhood and often have to move far away from their families and are left to fend for themselves. Their husbands are often much older and view these girls as slaves to the household. The practice generated publicity when a 10 year old girl asked for a divorce in Yemen from her husband who was in his 30s. A book was written about this incident, ‘I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced’.

Contrast the notion we have in the West of marriage being a union of choice and happiness with the abject misery these girls have to experience. While our daughters dream of wedding gowns and expensive rings these girls dream of playing with their friends and going to school.


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