Los Angeles Times

In India, 'child marriage is like a disease'

JODHPUR, India - The abuse began days after she moved in with her husband. He would come home drunk and force her to have sex. The women in his family hurled insults at her and said she brought bad luck.

Pinki Kumari was only 16, but her fate had been decided much earlier, at age 4, when her parents had a wedding ceremony for her and a boy 10 years older, and said they would live together when she grew up.

When she was sent to his house more than a year ago, the shy teenager who rarely raised her voice above a whisper soon began pleading with her father to let her come home. He refused, afraid to anger her in-laws or challenge the village orthodoxy in India's Rajasthan state, which has long had one of the world's highest rates of child marriage.

Then she made a phone call.

The voice that answered was

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