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Juliana, Kimura Writing B, Martin June 14, 2011.

Marriage of Angels

Rajani fell asleep before the ceremonials began. An uncle lifted her gently from her cot, hoisted her over one of his shoulders, and carried her in the moonlight toward the Hindu priest and the smoke of the sacred fire and the guests on plastic chairs and her future husband, a ten-year-old boy with a golden turban on his head. The story of Rajani -- a five-year-old Indian girl -- reported by Cynthia Gorney is an alert about the early marriage of many angels all around the world. In countries like India, Niger, Bangladesh and Albania every year more than 10 to 12 million girls are forced into a marriage at early age. These children have their right denied to choose to whom and when they want to get married. Most parents look upon the early marriage as a need to follow traditions or a business transaction. In India for example, a majority of marriages are still arranged by parents because a marriage to be considered strong has to unify two families, not two individuals. When a girl`s family is very poor or she has lost her parents, she may be married as a third or fourth wife to a much older man, to be a sexual and domestic servant. Even with the existence of laws to regulate marriage, few prosecutions are ever brought against lawbreakers. Child marriage practice has some consequences as the denial of education, health problems, and sexual advances. The custom of early marriage is recognized as one of the reasons for girl`s exclusion from school, especially in cultural settings where girls are raised only to be

housewives and are expected to marry very young. In some societies, parents depart their girls from school as soon as they begin to menstruate, fearing that exposure to male pupils or teachers puts them at risk to initiating their sexual lives before marriage. The money that parents carefully save to be spent in schooling costs is surely for sons, not for daughters. Children need education for their personal development, their preparation for adulthood, and their effective contribution to the future well-being of their family and society. Out of school, children lose their chance to develope their intellect and lose out on socializing, making friends outside her family circle, and many other usefull skills that are important to their lives. If the girls are abandoned or divorced, they are forced to work in cleaning, cooking, childminding, and commercial sex trade, because the lack of their education limits the chances to have good job opportunities. Also, there is a reduction in their chances to develope their own independent identity, to assert their own point of view, and a lack of self-esteem and sense of ownership of their body expose them to unwanted pregnancy and make them vulnerable to venereal diseases. The health problems involve physical and psychological damages. Domestic and sexual violence are the physical damages most related in some researches. Some girls suffer physical muttilation as a form of repression by their husbands. In one tragic case in Nigeria, a 12-year-old girl unhappy with her new husband ran away so often to her mother`s house that the girl`s husband cut off her legs to prevent her absconding. In some countries as Bangladesh, Jordan, and Lebanon if the girl run away from her husband or choose a marriage partner against the wishes of her parents, the girl will be punished or even killed by her own family the honour killing. These girls can be rejected by their own family, and they do not have anyone to talk about their suffering; makes psychological damages get worst. The early

pregnancies are other important health problem, because it constitutes a major risk to the survival and future health of both mother and child. The leading cause of mortality for 15-19 year-old girls worldwide is related to early pregnancy. The main causes of death haemorrhage, sepsis, preeclampsia and obstructed labor. Also, teenage girls are more susceptible to sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV/AIDS. Parents innocently believe that their daughter will be better off and safer getting married earlier, especially if they carry a risk of losing her virginity what is unacceptable -- to someone besides her husband. To prevent the earlier sexual initiation, parents marry their daughters to militia members in order to defend the family honour or secure protection for themselves and the girl. As cited before, some parents remove their daughters from school fearing the male pupils and teachers to introduce their daughters to sexual life before marriage. In North-East Africa and parts of the Middle East in particular, the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) surgical removal of the clitoris occurs to restrict the female sexual pleasure and temptation. Actually, parents are giving their children to a life of sacrifice, torture and sadness. There are many purposes to justify child marriage. The big problem is that early marriage will deprive these children of freedom, opportunity for personal development, and other rights including health and well-being, education, and participation in civic life. The practice of the traditional child marriage where the parent`s views will override children`s, and men`s will override women`s even taking precedence over the law. Summarizing, the early marriage will continue to be one stumbling block to the achievement of human rights.