Child Brides in India
In many societies, marriage is a celebrated institution commemorating the union between two consenting adults and the beginning of their lives together. However, this experience and celebration is different for the millions of girls around the world who are forced to wed while still children, some not even yet teenagers.
Child marriage is a marriage that occurs between two people where one or two of the partners is under 18. While boys are also married under the age of 18, girls far outnumber boys in child marriages. It is usually forced and occurs often to girls who are ages 12 to16 years old. The husband is also often several years older than his wife, sometimes even decades older. This kind of marriage is a violation of basic human rights according the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article sixteen .
This practice of child marriage is not only isolated to one or two countries or to one religion but is worldwide, with it being broadly spread in West Africa, South Asia, North Africa/ Middle East, and Latin America. According to UNICEF, the proportion of women aged 15-24 married before 18 was at 48% in South Asia, 42% in Sub-Saharan Africa and 29% in Latin America and Caribbean. According to the International Center for Research on Women, the countries with the highest rates of over 70% of girls are married in Niger, Chad and Mali. In India, more girls are at risk of child marriage than other countries combined . Child marriages are illegal in India and are actually punishable with a fine of 100,000 INR (equivalent to $1,923.82) and two years of prison for anyone who “performs, conducts or negligently fails to prevent a child marriage“ However, despite it being illegal, 47%, one-third of all “child brides” of the world, live in India with at least 25 million “child brides” residing there. According to a 2007 UNICEF report, most of these girls are married before...