Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Margaret Anderson, Cheyenne Marshall, Kamesha McLaughlin
Facts about child marriage:
In Southern Asia, 10 million girls, about 48% of the populations, are married before the age of 18.
Girls married before 18 are more likely to die younger, suffer from health problems, live in poverty and remain illiterate than unmarried girls their age.
Girls who are younger than 15 are five times more likely to die during child birth or pregnancy than women who are in their 20s. Because of this, pregnancy-related deaths are the leading cause of death among girls age 15 to 19 around the world.
In Niger, 76.6% of girls under the age of 18 are married. In Chad, that number is 71.5%.
Child brides are isolated and denied education and the opportunity for jobs. This makes the poverty cycle difficult to break from themselves and their children.
In the next ten years, over 100 million girls will be married before the age of 18.
The maximum age of child marriage 18, but the median age is 15. Some girls are forced into marriage are as young as 7 or 8.
Child brides are often treated as servants in their husbands’ homes. They are also under great pressure to have a child to prove their fertility in the first year of marriage.
In Egypt, around 39% of married adolescents were beaten by their husbands. Of that number 41% were beaten while they were pregnant.
Infant mortality rates for mothers under the age of 20 are 75% higher than those born to older mothers.
Nujood Ali was nine when she was married off by her parents to a man in his 30s. Soon after the marriage, her in-laws began beating her and her husband began raping her. Two months after she was married, she escaped via taxi and arrived at the courthouse, demanding a divorce. She refused the judge’s advice of rejoining her husband after a three to five year break. Reluctantly, the court granted her a divorce. This is just one case of child brides fighting against tradition. Child marriage is still a common practice in Yemen and other poverty-stricken countries.
"And he asked me, 'what do you want' and I said 'I want a divorce' and he said 'you're married?' And I said 'yes.'"- Nujood Ali, talking to a judge she demanded to see. The international Women’s Health Coalition is an organization committed to end child marriage.
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Posted by Margaret Anderson at 3:30 PM