Forced Marriages

March 9, 2010
To live happily ever after is a phrase that has become very popular ever since it was created. Many men, women, and children have lived their whole lives following the message this phrase sends. Although there are men, women, and children who are not able to live life by this beautiful phrase. All over the world there are many people in the past and present that are, or have been in forced marriages. For centuries some countries over in Europe and the Eastern world have always been accustomed to forced marriages. But in present day, especially in the Western world, forced marriages are looked down upon.

There are many facts on forced marriages that one would not begin to believe. Especially the fact that a majority of the victims of forced marriages are children, “…in some countries, the majority of girls marry before 18. These include: 82% in Niger, 75% in Bangladesh, 63% in Mali, 63% in Nepal, 57% in Ethiopia, 57% in India, 50% in Uganda” ("Too Young To Wed: Child Marriage In Their Own Words"). And then there are those who are forced into marriage closer to the age of 20, “UNICEF estimates that among women aged 15 to 24, 48 percent were married before the age of 18 in South Asia. In Bangladesh, 27.3 percent of women aged 15 to19 years old were married by the age of 15, and 65.3 percent of women aged 20 to 24 were married before the age of 18” ( "Forced and Early Marriage"). As shown in these facts there are many countries who contain forced marriages, especially at a younger age. It is said that, “No major world religion sanctions forced marriage. It is purely a cultural practice. However, no culture exclusively practices forced marriage.” Therefore there can be many more countries unknown who practice forced marriages but keep it well hidden.

Many countries have laws and acts against forced marriages, “Numerous international legal instruments prohibit forced and early marriage, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women…” yet forced marriages still continue today (“…Although most countries have signed onto these documents, many countries have not taken sufficient steps to implement these treaties”) ("Forced and Early Marriage"). I believe that forced marriages should be outlawed all over the world. I do not believe that one person should be forced among another person in any circumstance, especially marriage. “Forced and early marriages entrap women and young girls in relationships that deprive them of their basic human rights” ( "Forced and Early Marriage"). To have your freedom of choice taken away from you, and your human rights violated is something that western civilization has grown to overcome.

Growing up in the western world present day, through the media children are brought up on the idea that anyone could marry someone whom you love. I think that anyone would be able to feel more satisfied with their life knowing that they are marrying a person whom they trust, love, etc. Indeed, in present day western civilization, their have been situations where a person marries someone they love and trust and then something unfortunate happens (like divorce, loss of interest, and more drastic issues). But after situations like these happen, the good thing is that you have the freedom to find someone else. In some cultures, with marriages being forced, you are stuck with your partner forever whether you like them or not. If America were to establish any form of forced marriage as a cultural practice, in my opinion their would be rioting and chaos.
Forced marriages cause many other issues in the world like bride abductions, diseases, trafficking, abuse, etc. Something that I found to be unusual and cruel is bride abductions. Bride abductions have become increasingly popular in countries that contain forced marriages, “Today, most bride abductions occur in spite of a girl or young woman’s protestations and often involve men’s families, who sometimes instigate and conspire in the abduction” ("Forced and Early Marriage"). I believe it to be completely unfortunate that when the bride does not want to marry the chosen man, the family of the man feels that they have the right to kidnap the bride. Bride abduction is just another violation of human rights that need to be stopped.

When any child or woman is forced into a marriage they usually are impregnated shortly after the forced marriage takes place. Being that mostly younger girls are the targets for forced marriage they are more likely to be harmed by pregnancy, “More girls in developing countries die from hemorrhage, obstructed labor, obstetric fistula, and other pregnancy- and childbirth-related problems than from any other single cause of death” ("Too Young To Wed: Child Marriage In Their Own Words" ). The men can also give diseases to the young women and girls like STDs and HIV/AIDS. From pregnancy and diseases, girls who are forced into marriage appear more susceptible to earlier deaths.

There are many things that people in many different countries are doing to help prevent forced marriages, “Forced and early marriages are widespread, yet many local efforts to prevent these marriages have been successful. Crisis lines, women’s shelters, schools, groups or clubs for girls, and even monetary incentives have all proved effective in postponing marriages for girls and helping to stop forced marriages” ("Forced and Early Marriage”). But I believe if all countries were to ban forced marriages completely, their would be no need for groups, shelters, etc. Also I believe that their would be a decrease in diseases, abductions, abuse and basically all of the other horrible factors that can be contributed to forced marriages. Many can argue that by getting rid of arranged marriages would be an attack on cultures and groups. But that would definitely not be the case, getting rid of forced marriages would insure that everyone has freedom of choice and their own human rights.
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Works Cited
"Forced and Early Marriage." Home. Web. 03 Mar. 2010.

<" target=_blankhttp://www.stopvaw.org/Forced_and_Early_Marriage.html>
"Too Young To Wed: Child Marriage In Their Own Words." International Center for
Research on Women (ICRW). Web. 03 Mar. 2010.

<" target=_blankhttp://www.icrw.org/photoessay/html/facts.htm>;.





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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

kateyt23 said...
Mar. 20, 2010 at 10:55 am
I found this article very informative:)
 
shannie392 replied...
Jun. 23, 2011 at 8:25 am
thank you!
 
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