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Too young to wed

16 October 2012, 09:53

I recently read about child brides in various parts of the world but the story struck home when I viewed images of such on Linda Ikeji’s blog and the internet.

You can never fully grasp the damage these little girls must be going through but you can imagine it. At the age of 14, I was still a little girl guarded by my parents. I was still told what to do and my parents had the ultimate call on things concerning my life.

I began to imagine what it must be like for a teenager at 14 to have a family; bear children and have to make decisions as a wife of the house. She hasn’t even grown fully to being a girl and gets thrust right into womanhood and then motherhood.

Is this even meant to be legal? I think not!

I remember when the Yerima married the 13 year old girl, all hell broke loose. It is not normal for a little girl to marry someone old enough to be her grandfather. Whatever anyone says, this is absolute child abuse. How can a man come home to that little wife and expect her to play to the fullest, the role of a wife.

The many roles associated to women include but are not limited to Homekeeping, birthing children and sometimes working. At her age, what was this ‘husband’ doing with his life? Was he already thinking of siring children? Was he already the head of the family?

It amazes me how these men would come home from work, have these children they call wives wait on them; then at night they plunge their entire length into the delicate pelvis of the girls. What fun would they get practicing pedophilia (because that is what it is)?

Isn’t it time an end is put to these child marriages. Imagine a child giving birth to a child!

Okay, check this! When a girl that young is married off, chances are that the husband will not wait till she is matured to put her in the family way. And when that happens, she is at risk of birthing a premature baby. Even her own life is at risk at that point and if she survives, it may affect her psychologically.

Experts at The Daily Star roundtable organized in respect of ending the era of child marriages have spelt out two outstanding issues that need to be addressed to end this condition: men's perception of boosting their financial status through dowry and the feeling of insecurity in girls' families, mostly belonging to the low-income group.

You know what I think of all the time? I think of how these days, we get to make the choice of the spouse we spend the rest of our lives with and then I try to imagine how it must be for these children. They have no say whatsoever in whom they match them up with. They marry a man who is not only older than them, but who they probably would never consider had they had the chance of making that choice at a later age.

This practice is not alien in Nigeria because even though it is prevalent in some Sub- Saharan Africa and South Asia, it is practiced in the North.

When I did my youth service in Katsina, I saw a good number of children married to men. There I was shocked to see a little girl with a child strapped to her back. When I enquired as to the owner of the child, I was told the baby was her second child.

Her own mother was not even up to the age of 40.

Maybe the act hasn’t had enough exposure but its time something gets done. Lives and future of little innocent children are thrown away for the benefit of maybe, their parents. This is not normal or right and it is high time that is known.

Gosh! It’s crazy what is going on in this world.

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