Child marriage: 50% of girls are married by 18 years-Unicef.

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In South Asia and Sub-Sahara Africa, Young girls are sold off by their parents at an early age in exchange for marriage and married to men five times their age.  50% of girls get married before the age of 18  (Unicef, 2014). In 2018, Unicef recorded that more than 650 women are married before their 18th birthday.

 

Photo by Chinemere Kristen Ikpe

In further research conducted by Unicef, poverty is revealed as the top reason for child marriages in South Asia and Sub- Saharan Africa. Other reasons include uneducated and unenlightened parents, culture, an increase in social status.

For these reasons, underaged teens are married off too early to older men who expect them to be everything but their age: mothers at young ages, deprived of their childhood, denied the right to play, to be free of worries of the world rather, they birth children whilst they are one.  Parents and spouses of these girls ignore the dangers and consequences these children are being exposed to at such age which are: Vesicovaginal Fistula, cervical cancer, STD, depression, and isolation.

Underaged teens married off at such ages feel deprived of their rights, they are isolated and helpless which can be a result of a huge gap in mutual understanding between their spouse rendering young girls rejected and depressed.

 

Photo by Chinemere Ikpe Kristen

However, data from Sub-Saharan Africa shows that child marriage is declining but still exists in some parts of the world. In Ethiopia, 63% of girls are married by 18 as custom demands.

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