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Children in

Written by: Julianna Cook

Fox News was in shock in 2010 when
they heard that a 49 year old man divorced
his 17 year old wife in order to marry a 14
year old Egyptian girl (“Nigerian Child
Bride”). The problem of child brides has
recently been getting more attention in the
national press. The only reason he divorced
her was because of an Islamic law that only
allows a maximum of four wives at a time.
What the 17 year old girl didn’t know was
that he was forced to divorce one of his
wives to make room for a new wife
(“Nigerian Child Bride”). “Many child
brides are divorced, for that reason and
because of incontinence and other medical
problems caused by difficult pregnancies,”
(“Nigerian Child Bride”). Divorcing one
young child for another young child is
difficult. What people didn’t acknowledge
was that forced child marriage is an abuse to
human rights. Children are often forced to
marry older men to help their parents get out
of debt or to give them a better life. The

young girls that are forced to marry are in
danger mentally and physically.

In some countries that have a Muslim
majority there are laws for the minimum
marriage age codified to prevent adults from
using kids as bait and to protect them
(Hasan). In countries that have laws that
forbid forced child marriages some families
still find a way to bypass those laws.
Countries are either not strict enough
enforcing those laws, or families are just
sneaky at finding ways around the laws.
Britain is helping keep kids out of child
marriages by making 16 the legal age for
marriage (Hasan).

In some parts of the world parents
believe that allowing their daughters to
choose who they want to marry or other
personal decisions are ‘misguided
foolishness’ (Gorney). When parents do not
allow their child to choose who they would
like to marry there are often unforeseen

Some of the reasons more families
are starting to put their children in a forced

marriage are fiscal, religious or safety. The
parents think that when they permit their
young child to marry they are providing a
better life than they are capable of
providing. When the families are given
choices many consider child marriage to be
the only way to protect their child or ease
family resources (“Syrian child marriage”).
Poverty appears to be directly related to the
phenomenon of child brides.

in a circle of poverty. In many cases parents
can get a higher bride price or pay a smaller
dowry if the bride is extremely young.” But
once poor families start marrying off their
children they will remain poor because they
are on their own. Instead of trying to save
themselves from being poor it is just making
them worse. And once their children are
married the parents will want more kids in
order to marry them off to get out of debt,
therefore the cycle continues. Most families
that start marrying their kids off young don’t
realize the repercussions.


According to “Child Marriage Among
Girls” “The reasons most adults consider
forced child marriages are: ‘protection’,
family honor, social norms, and customary
or religious practices that condone the
practice.” In the United Kingdom children
were being forced to keep the family’s
name, receive money, or obtain residence for
spouse (Show your support). Families will
attempt to do whatever they can to save their
children without considering all the possible
consequences. Sometimes it just makes it
worse for the young girls. While the causes
don’t seem that shocking, the effects are
worse than ever.

Young girls are not built to have babies
or be in a sexual relationship before they are
yet fully developed. According to Sundaram
“a child of a child bride is much more likely
to die before the first birthday than a child of
an older mother” (Hodgkinson). These
young girls are putting their bodies in
extreme risk for something tragic to happen
during the pregnancy. These risks can be
mental or physical, and are often deadly.
Girls that are younger than fifteen have a
higher risk of having their first child die
during birth than girls that are fully grown.
In Nigeria children often have difficult
pregnancies, and child birth is the leading
cause of death among young girls. Girls
under the age of 15 are five times more
likely to die in childbirth than girls that are
older than the age of 15 (Girls, Not Brides).

According to Michael Hodgkinson who
interviewed a young girl named Sundaram
“Once children get married they don’t have
access to economic opportunities, which
traps them, their children and their families

They also are more likely to contract aids
according to the International Center for
Research on woman that Fox News
interviews (“Nigerian Child Bride Kills
Man”). According to the Save the Children

President and CEO Carolyn Miles “Girls
who marry before 18 are more likely to
experience domestic violence than their
peers who marry later, and they have much
more limited access to sexual and
reproductive health,” (“Syrian child

consequence of young girls giving birth
before they are physically mature is ripped
vaginal walls. Ripped vaginal walls leads to
fistulas where the internal wall ruptures that
can lead to lifelong incontinence or worse.
There was a report of a young girl that was
sent to Sanaa Hospital because she was
having sexual intercourse. She had ruptured
her internal organs, and she ended up
bleeding to death (Gorney). It is not worth
the life of a 13 year old to marry her off to a
man and let her have sexual intercourse.
When parents force their daughters to get
married it opens the door to kids having kids
before they’re not ready.

Most child brides are normally not fully
grown yet. If the girl goes through with a
pregnancy, the baby will most likely not
survive past their first birthday. When young
girls are pressured to get married and then
have kids they can expect some physical,
emotional, and sexual abuse.
In a remote village of Afghanistan on
January 12, 2010 a young girl that ran away
from her husband and was beaten by their
former warlord. Nobody had the nerve to
stand up for the beating (“Asia Pacific”).
Once children are forced into marrying
they no longer have a childhood. It doesn’t
allow them to attend school, it severally
harms their health, and it slows down
development of their bodies (child, early and
forced marriage). According to Najeeb
Saeed Ghanem, chairman of the Yemeni
Parliaments Health and Population
Committee interviewed by Gorney, the
human body is extremely valuable. A

Some girls that are forced into marrying
a man they do not want end up rebelling.
One girl wanted an education badly enough
that she refused to marry the person that her
parents had chosen in order to finish her
schooling and attend college. The primary
reason she wanted to graduate was to be able
to qualify for the Indian Police Force where
she could specialize in enforcement of the
child marriage prohibition law (Gorney).

Parents do whatever they can do give their
kids a better live. They never give the
children any say in who they want to marry.
As a result their children end up having
pregnancy issues that frequently result in
death to either the mother of her baby. To
escape all the dangers of a forced child
marriage the young girls rebel. As a result
of this rebellion the situation usually
becomes worse.
Recently child brides are beginning to
divorce their husbands because they did not
love them, or they had problems with their
pregnancies. They are finding different ways
out of their marriage besides divorce. Some
girls absolutely hated their husband enough
that they felt the need to kill them or
otherwise provide a different alternative.
According to Fox News, a Nigerian bride
“Confessed to committing the crime and
said she did it because she was forced to
marry a man she did not love.”

Julianna Cook
English 91
10 February 2015
Works Cited

“Asia Pacific: Afghan Girls Flogged for Running Away.” Video Collection 2010.
Student Resources in Context. Web. 27 Jan. 2015
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"Child Marriage." CARE. N.p., 13 Sept. 2013. Web. 09 Feb. 2015.
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Gorney, Cynthia. “Too Young To Wed.” National Geographic 219.6 (2011): 78-99. Academic
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Hasan Mehdi. “British Muslims Should Stand Up And Say It: There Is Nothing Islamic About
Child Marriage.” New Statesman 142.5185 (2013): 40. Academic Search Premier. Web. 24
Jan. 2015.
Hodgkinson, Michael. “Speaking Out Against Child Marriage – ‘We Can End Child Marriage,
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“Show Your Support for #EqualScotland.” Forced Marriage. Scottish Government, 20 July 2014.
Web. 29 Jan. 2015.
"South Asia Is Home to Highest Number of Child Brides | Asia | DW.DE | 29.11.2013." DW.DE.
N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Feb. 2015.
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Newswire 16 July 2014. Student Resources in Context. Web. 27 Jan. 2015.
"Women Empowerment and the Challenge of Child Marriage." SRP. N.p., 10 Nov. 2013. Web.
09 Feb. 2015.