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Too many child brides
July 23, 2013 - Andrea Johnson
Sometimes I think the world is still in the dark ages. This morning I saw two separate stories on underage marriage in different countries.
Somewhere in Yemen there is an 11-year-old girl named Nada al-Ahdal whose parents tried to force her into marriage with a much older man. She ran away from them to live with an uncle. In a YouTube video that has gotten numerous hits, Nada says she would "rather die" than marry so young and her future would be ruined. What kind of creatures think it's acceptable to marry off a child who has likely barely reached puberty, if she has at all?
This week in Nigeria, the Senate has apparently endorsed legalized underage marriage. The actual bill states that a woman becomes of "full age" and able to renounce her citizenship because she is married. One of the senators is apparently a 49-year-old man who became infamous for marrying a 14-year-old Egyptian girl a few years ago, after first divorcing the 15-year-old he'd married the previous year so he wouldn't have more than four wives at a time. People who favor this sort of marriage tend to say it's permissible under Islamic law, so they think it must be perfectly OK.
According to the story at Mashable.com, one in nine girls in developing countries are married before they turn 15. Those girls are, of course, less likely to finish their educations and more likely to die in childbirth or suffer permanent injuries while giving birth.
Stories like this make me want to contribute any spare change I have to organizations that help these girls get an education or start their own businesses or run away from their families and have a chance to live out their dreams. Unfortunately, I don't think there are enough of them in the world to save all the little girls out there like Nada.
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