In some corners of the world, young girls are commonly pressured into leaving school, marrying much older men and having children when they are still children of ten, twelve and fourteen years old.
They often become victims of domestic violence. And repeated pregnancies, labor and childbirth at such young ages works its own kind violence and abuse on their bodies. And the mortality rate is high.
In places like Sudan, half the females marry younger than eighteen. The economics of survival are very harsh and their families cannot pass up the chance to ease the burden of feeding another mouth and to receive a dowry.
International aid organizations are working hard to educate the populations about alternatives but change does not happen overnight.
The tragedies are not confined to the Third World though.
There are more teens than most of us would imagine, even fifteen years old and younger, getting married right here in the USA, often to much older men as well.
Even in arguably enlightened states like New York and New Jersey. By the dozens and hundreds in numbers, if not all, of the states in the union.
Perhaps for different reasons than in the Third World. But happening nonetheless.
While there are restrictions on teen marriages in the US, there are also exceptions allowing them. For the moment.
Legislation is pending in several states, including New York, to finally ban child marriages absolutely, without exception.
Read more in
- this Aljazeera news article: South Sudan: The deadly consequences of child marriage and
- this New York Times article: States Make New Push to Curb Child Marriage .