Child marriage is a disgusting practice

Published: March 9, 2016
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Every year, hundreds of young girls are deprived of their destiny right before they blossom and they’re trampled upon mercilessly. Why do rituals, generation-old promises and societal concerns continue to decide the fate of those who haven’t even reached adulthood?

The on-going issue of child marriages in developing countries has been highlighted by UNICEF in a hair rising video. UNICEF has taken a step to create awareness about child brides and is taking great initiatives to put a much needed end to this grave issue.

This thought provoking agony is just another story for listeners but in reality, it puts an end to a child’s dreams, fantasies and wishes within minutes.

The video starts off with glittering preparations for a wedding and ends on a note of bitter reality; pushing young girls into marriage.

No religion, culture, society and no ethnicity should have the power to snatch a girl’s youth. Every child deserves the right to experience childhood rather than being pushed into adulthood.

The glamour of a wedding and a marriage ceases to exist if the bride is being forced into it and especially if she’s marrying a complete stranger who is thrice her age. Don’t we teach our children to stay away from strangers? Then how can parents turn that around so dramatically and make their children spend their entire lives with them?

This is a harsh reality, one which we have learnt to digest over time.

But for how long?

This video should make everyone want to take immediate action against the issue of underage marriages and child brides, especially considering how Pakistan suffers from the very same issue. Even though the Child Marriages Restraint Act is intact in Pakistan, it has various loopholes and doesn’t deter age old customs.

Let’s join hands and stand united against such evils existing in our society before someone we know falls prey to this disgusting practice.

Parivash Ahmed

Parivash Ahmed

The author is a CBM Graduate, in love with the digital world and passionately involved in it. She adores the world and it's wonder and is sad to see the weakened roots. She is on a venture to make a difference. She tweets @PAQureshi

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • vinsin

    Most of Muslims are actually proud that Islam bought Pardah and Child marriage system to subcontinent.

    Stopping Child marriage is against Islam, an Islamic State and creation of Pakistan.
    What about Child Circumcision?Recommend

  • Fahim

    I want my child now 16 days old to marry by age of 16. What is disgusting in it ? If adultery is a common practice in different parts of modern world at this age, why not marriageRecommend

  • Miqdad Naqvi

    Good piece! Indeed there is very need of awareness raising and behavior change communication strategies.
    One thing Provincial Child Marriage restraint acts has been promulgated in Sindh and Punjab as Sindh Child Marriages Restraint Act.2013 (much descriptive and with a deterrence) and Punjab Child Marriages Restraint (amendment) 2015.
    The law mentioned in your blog Child Marriages Restraint Act.1929 is enforced only in ICT, KPK and BaluchistanRecommend

  • Guest

    Stopping Child Marriage is NOT against in Islam by any mean. Islam is the complete encyclopedia. it is not any piece of practice to put your practises by your own choices and means. Islam never support this act by any mean. Please review Islam before thinking or posting anything like this, anywhere.Recommend

  • Logical Mind

    You yourself need to get educated about Islamic jurisdiction. The fact is that Islam does allow child marriage (along with very clearly defined rules around it) though does not specifically encourage it. And it is an important rule of Islamic jurisdiction that no interpretation (that includes derived laws such as the laws of the land in a Muslim country) can disallow something that is allowed. So stopping child marriage by outlawing it via man-made laws of the land IS against Islam.Recommend

  • Logical Mind

    Well said. The West (and their blind liberal followers in the East) thinks it is OK for kids to indulge in promiscuous sexual relations (among the kids themselves, of course) – that even results in teenage pregnancies – but marrying them is not. How unnatural and illogical is that! They fail to understand that Muslims, adults or otherwise, cannot indulge in any sexual relations outside of marriage (if anyone does so, he or she is violating his/her faith) so instead of placing unnatural restrictions on marriage based on man-made choice of an adult marriageable age, Islam allows marriage regardless of the age (though consummation does have some restrictions).Recommend

  • TheSword

    You’re wrong, our beloved prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) married the honourable Aisha (r.a) at her being aged 6. Clearly marriage between an older and younger individual is allowed in Islam, thus permissible for Muslims. A child that reaches puberty is not considered a child in Islam. When are you liberals are going to learn? Remember, prophet Muhammad came for all times, and he has set an example for us Muslims.Recommend

  • Logical Mind

    The video and the whole article is based on the Western/liberal/secular perspective. Islam’s stance on marriage, family definition, criteria for adulthood, age of consent etc. are totally different. However as far as Muslims, in general, are concerned, there surely are some bad customs that are prevalent in some areas (different ones in different areas) but these usually have roots in local culture or are due to the lack of proper Islamic education. For example, the notion that a man “owns” his wife is not Islamic. Similarly another custom where people give their girls in marriage (whether underage or not) to settle murder cases is another non-Islamic practice. Such bad practices definitely need to be abolished and laws should be made and enforced to address these. But using such practices to justify making laws that blindly attempt to make a Muslim society conform to Western norms is not acceptable to Muslims.

    If you identify yourself as a Muslim, you have to accept the rules and the code of life that Islam defines. Pakistan was made in the name of Islam and its constitution specifies that no law can be made in this country that violates the Islamic principles of jurisdiction (Islamic Shariah). It is unfortunate that despite this, several laws in Pakistan are in violation of Islamic principles including the Child Marriages Restraint Act that the author mentions.

    And lastly, the notion that marriage snatches the youth of a girl if she is married before the West-conformant age of 18 years, is baseless and illogical. The fact is that if a girl’s life becomes miserable because of marriage that actually means that the man (and/or the in-laws) were a bad selection in first place – the girl’s life in such a case would be equally miserable even if she was above the age of 18.

    P.S.: Note that the article deliberately does not mention Islam and tries to make a sweeping argument, treating Islam as just another religion. But since the article is posted on a forum that is on a Pakistani domain and the author is likely a Muslim (guessing from her name) so the implied audience is Muslims and the ideology under attack is Islam hence my comment follows the perspective of a Muslim only.Recommend

  • M

    Your values are relevant at a time when the average life expectancy was around 30 so every event in life had to be sped up. Current average life expectancy is around 70. Naturally, we have to adjust to these new figures.
    Adultery has nothing to do with age of marriage.Recommend

  • SH

    At least let them grow old enough to decide if they want to marry or not. Without consent, marriage is invalid. Recommend

  • Fahim

    Well with your logic of consent, 99% of Pakistani guys should get married at age of 16. That is the point I want to prove that law is creating problem for marriages and putting unnecessary nose in personal matters.Recommend

  • Fahim

    If law doesn’t care of consent instead forcing to stop marriages at early age that looks fine to you? Recommend