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For the likes of you and me, the urban women of today, who for most of their lives have done things their way, the concept of child marriage seems just a part of our horrid past. But this social evil continues to plague our society even today. Look around. What appears before you will shock you.
Consider these examples:
1.Shaista, a Kashmiri girl, married at fourteen. Forced to serve her husband and his family. The hopelessness of life led to an attempted suicide.
2.Geetha, an 8 year old girl from Tamil Nadu, married off and left to suffer silently.
3.Saraswati, from West Bengal. Married at 12, suffered two miscarriages till 14. Abandoned by husband, and remarried by parents. Now a mother at 16.
4.Rajasthan holds mass, grand child marriages.80 percent marriages in the state are child marriages.
Shocking? Horrendous, I would say.
Why Child Marriages still exist
Child marriages are against the law in India. And still this happens. The reasons are innumerable.
According to the Indian Law, child marriages are illegal, and the government will do everything it can to stop them. But once these marriages take place , they cannot be annulled. And in this corrupt country ,it is awfully easy to turn a blind eye to these ceremonies. So everyone associated with these marriages go scot -free and little girls continue to suffer.
The Inferior Sex
The status of women in our country is another reason why this bane still persists. Girls are still considered to be a burden, which has to be done away with at the earliest. The inferior status of women, who are looked upon only as commodities, born to serve men, is the main reason for their plight.
The effects of early marriage on a girl child are so horrifying that you wonder how these crimes still take place in this day and time. Firstly, early marriages affect the mental and emotional well being of the girl. Pulled out of school, away from her family and peers, she is thrown into a relationship she can’t even comprehend. Expected to serve the in-laws and reprimanded and tormented at every point, she loses her self esteem and gets drawn into an identity-less existence.
These marriages are not just a violation of human rights, but the most prevalent form of exploitation and sexual abuse. Due to lack of proper education, these girls are unable to make informed decisions about sexual relations. At the ages when we played with our dolls, these girls have to deal with pregnancies. Both physically and mentally immature to handle pregnancies, an alarming number of these girls perish due to untimely pregnancies and delivery complications.
These uneducated girls, who cannot say ‘no’ to a man, or insist on safe sex, are also prone to sexually transmitted diseases.
Denied education, proper health care, and socializing, these girls lead a life of utter misery.
The government has not been able to do much about this evil practice in India.
Our hope, perhaps lies with those young and brave girls who have the nerve to speak out against the injustice being meted to them,and demand a better life for themselves, defying the society to fight child marriage.