Early marriage has many negative effects on families, but unfortunately most of the negative effects apply to the young girl’s life.
Young girls face various physical and mental problems due to early marriage because they don’t have the experience or strength to endure the demands of a husband and a new family. They are forced to give birth before their bodies are ready. Often they don’t have the knowledge to protect and care for themselves or know how to act when faced with all of the new demands. The result can be an unhealthy, unhappy family.
But there are several reasons why people force their daughters into early marriages. Most prevalent are these:
First, there are economic problems, where parents cannot afford the expense of keeping a girl home. Second, there is a cultural poverty, where incorrect customs or traditions overshadow rule of law. And third, the desire for security: parents force their daughters to marry to protect either the family or the girl.
During the Mujahideen, families tried to save girls from effects of the war, including murder and rape. One of my relatives lived with elderly parents in that dangerous period. She was twelve when they forced their daughter to marry my fifty-year-old uncle.
My uncle paid them a sum of money about the same as the girl’s weight and that granted a secure life for them, but destroyed the girl’s future. Now she is still young, but already she is worn out with five children and an old husband. I can understand her feelings. She is very worried about the future.
Early marriage has no real benefit to girls. All of its negatives affect the rest of the girl’s life. Parents must realize this important point and teach their daughters their rights and help them learn social skills to make a good future for themselves and their family. One day we will have a happy community and a developed country that recognizes the rights of girls as well as boys.
Fathers! Mothers! I beg you to please stop early marriage!
By Fatima F.
AWWP’s writing on child marriage is being shared with Breakthrough’s campaign, “Nation Against Early Marriage.” Photo by Rebecca Murray / Thomson Reuters Foundation.