Child marriage

Child marriage is a scourge. It leaves a teenage girl vulnerable to maltreatment, physical abuse and violence.

It has, unfortunately, become a practice in our society; it is growing at breakneck speed, particularly in Sindh.

Child brides are particularly vulnerable to abuse and violence. Early marriage of a girl at a very tender age strips her of her exclusive right to a healthy, sound and safe childhood, quality and complete education that can lead to economic opportunities, and social and political empowerment. Besides the orthodox manifestation of cultural behaviour, a survey revealed the following ingredients leading to early marriages: the paucity of literacy, pressure from parents, mammoth dowry costs for older girls, parents’ want of wider social networks, adolescents dropping out of school, heinous crime and insecurity, love affairs between adolescents are significant factors that encourage the practice of child marriage. Although several laws were promulgated to curb this growing menace of child marriage, these laws are seldom implemented. Consequently, child marriages continue to plague our society.

Child marriage has catastrophic consequences in all parts of the world. Such premature marriages are significant contributors to health hazards for women and girls, resulting in early pregnancies, calamitous complications during pregnancy, higher rates of infant mortality, difficult childbirth, as well as risk of infections like HIV. Conjugal violence, especially unreported cases of spousal abuse, also argument exponentially due to underage marriages where children are incognizant of their fundamental privileges with their lives to be mostly manipulated by adults.

To conclude, the practice of child marriage can also give birth to many social evils. In order to curb the growing tide of the menace of early child marriage, there must be a concerted approach that targets all the children, not only those at higher hazard. We as a society must change our toxic mentality— teeming with retrogression— to the rationally developed.

USAMA MUGHAL,

Sindh.

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