I’ve always spoken up against child marriage because I feel its a grave form of child abuse. Imagine girls, young girls forced to get married and become mothers of younger girls. These girls are deprived of a normal childhood, robbed of their childhood dreams and most importantly deprived of getting an education. Child marriage is still practiced in many cultures across the works, particularly in Africa and Asia. I’ve even written about Child Marriage in Malawi. My focus has now been drawn to an extremely poor area of Ethiopia, Amhara, where girls as young as five are forced to get married.
The United States Agency for International Development ( USAID) , Amhara has some of the highest rates of child marriage in the world. Nearly 50% of girls there get married before they reach the age of 18. This trend exposes these young girls to abuses by their husbands, pregnancy complications, and maternal death. I find it depressing to imagine a young girl of 12 years getting pregnant and giving birth to a child. I am a medical student and I know the various kinds of complications these girls can suffer due to their young age. In Amhara, many of these girls die during child birth. I wonder how anyone can even find it normal to require children to produce children!
Despite the fact that it is illegal for girls below 18 to get married in Ethiopia, it is still a common trend, as the law is weak. Same applies to Nigeria where there is a trend of child marriage in its Northern Region.
The Ethiopian Government should ensure that not only laws are passed but there is an implementation mechanism to back up these laws. It is a human rights abuse case for young girls to be deprived of education and forced to get married to mature, full grown men. It affects them psychological, physically and emotionally.
Let girls be girls! Say no to #ChildMarriage