- Can a child be forced to get married?
- The legal age of marriage
- Child marriages around the world
- The effects of child marriage
- Why do child marriages happen?
- How to prevent child marriages
- Child marriage statistics
- Stories of child brides
- Celebrities who were child brides
- What you can do to help end child marriage
As the world progresses, some traditions fall by the wayside. One of these is the practice of child marriage. But can a child be forced to get married against their will?
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Can a child be forced to get married?
In the United States, the legal age for marriage is 18. But in some parts of the world, children as young as 12 are being forced into marriages – with devastating consequences.
According to a new report by Human Rights Watch, more than 68 million girls around the world will be married before they turn 18 if current trends continue. That’s about 17 girls every minute.
Child marriage is a human rights violation. It deprives girls of their childhood, limits their educational and economic opportunities, and puts them at risk of violence throughout their lives. But in many countries, child marriage is still legal – and even considered desirable.
In some cultures, child marriage is seen as a way to protect girls’ virginity and preserve their “honor.” In others, it’s seen as a way to strengthen family ties or improve economic stability. But no matter the reason, child marriage has serious consequences for girls.
Girls who are married as children are more likely to drop out of school and are at greater risk of suffering domestic violence. They also have higher rates of maternal mortality and are more likely to contract HIV/AIDS.
Child marriage often leads to a cycle of poverty that’s hard to break. Girls who marry young are less likely to finish school and have fewer job opportunities, which means they’re more likely to live in poverty throughout their lives. And because they tend to have children early, they’re also more likely to experience complications during pregnancy and childbirth – which can lead to even more poverty for themselves and their families.
So why do parents continue to marry off their daughters at such young ages? In many cases, it’s simply because they think it’s best for their daughter – even if she doesn’t want to get married.
In other cases, families may marry off their daughters because they need the dowry that comes with her – money or property that is given to her husband when they marry. In some cultures, this dowry can be quite large; in others, it may be just a few cows or goats. But whatever the amount, it’s often seen as essential for the girl’s family – even if it means sacrificing her future.
The legal age of marriage
In the United States, the legal age of marriage is 18. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. If a person is 16 or 17 years old, they may be able to get married if they have parental consent. In some states, however, even this exception requires judicial approval.
There are also a few states that allow children under the age of 18 to get married in certain circumstances, such as if the child is pregnant or has already had a child. These laws vary from state to state, so it’s important to know the laws in your state before you get married.
If you’re not sure whether you meet the requirements to get married in your state, you can contact your local county clerk’s office for more information.
Child marriages around the world
While child marriages are declining globally, they are still very common in many parts of the world. According to UNICEF, about 12 million girls under the age of 18 are married each year.
There are many reasons why families marry off their daughters at a young age. In some cases, it is seen as a way to protect the girl from sexual violence or abuse. In other cases, it is seen as a way to ensure that she will not have premarital sex or become pregnant out of wedlock. In some cultures, child marriage is seen as a way to strengthen familial ties between two families.
In many cases, child marriages are arranged by the parents or other older members of the community without the input or consent of the children themselves. This can lead to forced marriage, where the children are married against their will.
Forced marriage is a human rights violation and can have harmful effects on the physical and mental health of both girls and boys. Child marriages often result in early pregnancy and dropout from school, which can lead to a lifetime of poverty. Girls who are married young are also more likely to experience domestic violence.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to ending child marriage, but there are many organizations working to end this harmful practice around the world.
The effects of child marriage
While the practice of child marriage is declining globally, it remains prevalent in many parts of the world. According to a report by UNICEF, child marriage is defined as a formal marriage or informal union before the age of 18. The effects of child marriage can be widespread and long-lasting.
Girls who are married as children are often forced to drop out of school and are at increased risk of experiencing domestic violence. They also have limited opportunities to earn an income, which can lead to poverty and dependence on their husbands. In some cases, girls who are married as children are also more likely to contract HIV/AIDS.
Child marriage often has a negative impact on the health of young girls. Early pregnancy can lead to complications such as fistula, an infection that can occur during childbirth and lead to incontinence. Additionally, girls who marry young are more likely to suffer from domestic violence and exploitation.
While child marriage is declining globally, it remains a problem in many parts of the world. Girls who are forced into child marriages often have their lives forever changed. They face increased risks to their health, education, and future prospects.
Why do child marriages happen?
There are a number of reasons why child marriages happen. In some cases, it is because the parents or guardians of the child believe that it is best for them. In other cases, it may be because the family is poor and marrying off the child is seen as a way to reduce costs. In some cultures, child marriage is seen as a way to ensure that a girl is married before she becomes sexually active, which is believed to protect her virtue and reputation.
How to prevent child marriages
In the United States, child marriages are more common than you might think. According to a recent report from the Tahirih Justice Center, an organization that works to end child marriages, there were more than 3,000 child marriages in just one year in the United States. And while it might be easier to think of child marriages as something that happens only in other countries, the reality is that they are happening right here in the United States.
There are a number of reasons why a child might be forced into marriage. In some cases, it may be because the family is struggling financially and they see marriage as a way to reduce their burden. In other cases, it may be because the family is facing social pressure to marry off their daughter at a young age. And in some cases, it may be because the girl has been raped or impregnated and her family sees marriage as a way to avoid scandal or shame.
Whatever the reason, child marriages are always wrong and they always have harmful consequences for the children involved. Children who are forced into marriage are at risk of abuse, both physical and emotional. They are also more likely to drop out of school and enter into poverty. In addition, child marriages often prevent girls from achieving their full potential later on in life.
So what can be done to prevent child marriages? First and foremost, it’s important to raise awareness about the problem. It’s also important to work with communities where child marriages are more common to help them understand why these marriages are harmful and how they can be prevented. Finally, it’s important to make sure that laws and policies are in place that protect children from being forced into marriage.
Child marriage statistics
Childhood should be a time of innocence, play and exploration. But for millions of girls around the world, childhood is ended all too soon by the forced marriage into which they are sold or traded. According to UNICEF, child marriage is defined as “any formal marriage or informal union where one or both of the parties are under 18 years of age.”
Although child marriage occurs in every region in the world, South Asia has the highest rates of Child marriages, with over half of all child marriages taking place in this region. In India, 47% of women aged 20-24 were married before they turned 18. In Bangladesh, the rate is even higher, with nearly 56% of women in this age group married as children.
Child marriage robs girls of their childhood, increases their risk of violence and abuse, and denies them their right to make decisions about their own lives and bodies. Girls who are married as children are also more likely to drop out of school and are at greater risk of experiencing health problems like obstetric fistula and early pregnancy.
There is some good news on the child marriage front: Rates have begun to decline in recent years thanks to increased awareness about the harmful effects of child marriage and concerted efforts by governments, international organizations and civil society groups to end this practice. In Bangladesh, for example, the rate of child marriage has declined from 61% in 2000 to 56% in 2014.
But much more needs to be done to end child marriage once and for all. To achieve this goal, we need to continue raising awareness about the harmful effects of child marriage and invest in programs that support girls who are at risk of being married off as children.
Stories of child brides
In some parts of the world, it is sadly not uncommon for young girls to be forced into marriage. This practice is known as child marriage, and it deprives girls of their childhood, their right to choose whom they marry, and often their right to an education.
According to UNICEF, child marriage is defined as a formal marriage or informal union before age 18. Child marriages are most common in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, and about 1 in 3 girls in developing countries are married before they turn 18.
While child marriage affects both boys and girls, the majority of child marriages involve girls. In fact, UNESCO estimates that every year, 15 million girls under the age of 18 are married. That’s 41,000 child marriages every day.
The reasons behind child marriage are complex. They can be economic (families marrying off daughters to reduce their financial burden), social (marrying girls off to preserve their honor), or religious (some interpretations of religious texts condone child marriage). whatever the reasons may be, child marriage is a violation of human rights and has a lasting impact on girls’ lives.
Here are some stories from around the world that shed light on the experiences of child brides:
In Bangladesh, 16-year-old Naila was married against her will to a man twice her age. When she refused to consummate the marriage, her husband locked her in a room for five days without food or water until she gave in. Naila says she feels like a prisoner in her own home and is desperately hoping for a way out.
In India, 14-year-old Suman was married off by her parents when she was just 12. Suman’s husband is abusive, and she is not allowed to leave the house or go to school. She spends her days doing household chores and taking care of her husband’s needs. Suman says she feels like she has no control over her own life.
Celebrities who were child brides
There are a number of celebrities who were child brides, including:
1. Jada Pinkett Smith
3. Brooke Shields
4. Drew Barrymore
5. Britney Spears
6. Mariah Carey
7. Christina Aguilera
What you can do to help end child marriage
Child marriage is a serious human rights violation. Although the practice is declining, it still affects millions of girls every year. More than 650 million women alive today were married as children.
There are many reasons why child marriage happens, but one of the main reasons is that girls are seen as property. In some cultures, girls are born into families that see them as a financial burden. In others, girls are seen as a way to control another family or to strengthen an alliance between families. Whatever the reason, child marriage is always about power and control.
Child marriage has devastating consequences for girls. Most are pulled out of school and forced into adulthood before they’re ready. They’re more likely to experience domestic violence and to live in poverty for the rest of their lives. They’re also at greater risk of health problems like obstetric fistula, early pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
You can help end child marriage by supporting organizations that work to end the practice and by raising awareness about the issue. You can also urge your government to do more to stop child marriage.