Professor Steve Willard
27 July 2014
As Gloria Steinem said: “ A woman needs a man is like a fish needs a bicycle.”
instance that in this modern society, identify of females have been improve. Unfortunately, it still is undeniable that a lot of prejudices and injures still happen to females. One of the most significant one is child brides’ problem. Many people do not know what a child bride really is. Child brides are girls forced to marry an old men because of some different reasons when they are still are teenagers.2 This is kind of early marriage causes those child brides isolated with society, suffer from domestic abuse and become dependent on their violent husband.3 It may be shocking that there are 67 million child brides in 2010 and there will be approximately 142,000,000 child brides all around the world after only ten years later.4 More surprisingly, there will be 14 million new child brides every year.5 Now as situation of child brides is becoming worse and worse, this research paper will focus on analyzing three main causes of this pathetic reality. Firstly, some religions that allow existence of child brides can encourage their followers or their followers’ daughters to get married before eighteen. What’s more, developing countries and many rural areas where poverty widely existed contribute a great part to this growing tendency. Last but not least, lack of education also changes those 1
A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle. The Phrase Finder. Web. 9 May 2014. Child marriages: 39 000 every day. World Health Organization. Web. 1 May 2014. Nilanjana Bhowmick. India Criticized For Not Co-Sponsoring U.N. Child-Bride Resolution. Time.com. 18 May, 2014. Child Marriage Facts and Figures. International Center for Research on Women. Web. 20 April 2014. About Child Marriage. Girlsnotbrides. Web. May 16, 2014.
girls’ life forever. Through this research paper, sufficient evidence will point to religions, poverty and illiteracy as chief culprits of existence and increase of child brides. It is well-known that sometimes having a religious belief can bring many people a peaceful life, but it is also true that this belief can also hurt innocent girls by turning them into child brides. When people talk about Christian, tons of positive comments will be made toward God, they even believe there is no impurity existed in that fantasy world. Actually among those sacred rules in Catholic canon law, there is one that is not that pure, which allows a girl to become a child bride. This canon law can be traced back before 1929.6 In 1983, this law was still effective for girls over twelve years old. Two decades after 1983, even though whole society has been modernized a lot, it is still unfortunately true that this outdated law has been reserved, and affects high developed area like Quebec in Canada.7 By comparison, as another one of the biggest three religions Islam also has a similar law stimulates the existence of child brides more than Catholic canon does, which is called Muslim sharia.8 Based on Muslim’s loyalty toward this law, a father in Australia allowed his 12-year-old girl to marry a 26-year-old man because he believed it was the way Muslim sharia told him to bring his daughter happiness. He only knew it was totally a farce when he was charged due to sexual abuse done to his own daughter under his custodianship. 9 According to this case, people should be glad that overall state of child brides is not so desperate for girls in countries like Australia. At least they have legislation against this kind of immoral marriage, but for the other countries where even legal standards are biased toward 6
Religious law vs. human rights: child brides. Concordat Watch. Web. 5 May 2014. IBID
this sick tradition, situation is certainly much worse.
In Iraq, chairman of its legal affairs committee believes that 9 is the age of puberty and the exactly right time for a girl to get married because he said that otherwise it will be regarded as acting against Islamic sharia law.10 In Malaysia, minister for legal affairs decides that it is innocent for a man to get a child bride at any age due to the respect of Islamic law.11 All of those gives man like Prophet Mohammad the chance to marry and torture a six-year old girl.12 Religion can modify a person’s life completely, but whether it is in a good way or a bad one like child brides really depends on how people choose to follow their belief. Actually besides this unshakable religion related reason, poverty in developing countries and rural area sometimes contributes more to the growth of child brides. People get used to claiming that money and family background do not decide a person’s destiny, but they may change their mind after knowing what poverty has done to those child brides. According to the rankings of hot spots of child brides, top twenty are all developing countries.13 Most of them are concentrated in the poorest continent Africa.14 In Niger, more than 75% of the girls are child brides because majority of Nigeriens only live on less than two dollars everyday.15 At that time marrying an old man seems to be the only way for a helpless girl to survive. In other countries like Chad and Central African Republic more than 65% of the girls get married before 18 years old.16 Unsurprisingly, none of those countries are most economically developed countries, because research shows that girls living in 10
Religious law vs. human rights: child brides.
Child Marriage Facts and Figures
Child Marriage Facts and Figures
poverty are twice more likely to be child brides than those who are not.17 A country is developing only if poor families dominate it, so bad family conditions can be traced as the most original reason for the appearance of child brides.
In those poor environment, cruel reality often leaves no choice for parents but selling their own daughter as a child bride so that the rest can survive. It is poverty which changes many innocent persons’ life. Here are two examples, in the first one a 11-year-old girl in Yemen were sold to marry a 33 years old man in order to feed her family. After that, she suffered from severe sex injuries and experienced two miscarriages when she was only 13 and 15.18 The second girl is even younger, her name is Rawan, she was sold out to be a child bride when she was only eight and her marriage only lasted for one day because she died due to internal injury at the wedding night which was supposed to be a girl’s happiest moment of her life.19
Same kind of underage marriage is also very famous in countries with huge population such as China and India. Based on a research this author has done, more than 90% of her colleagues have watched TV programs talking about child brides in Chinese countryside. What’s worse India even has the largest number of child brides in the world, which already reaches twenty-four million.
But it is still good to see that both of those two countries are
dedicating themselves to eliminating child brides by joining resolution proposed by U.N. and other authoritative organizations.21
Poverty is not an issue that can be solved in a short time,
International Business Times. Yemeni Child Bride Story: Noora Al Shami Exposes Truth Behind Her Life As Child Bride. Ebsco. 8 October 2014. Web.
Ritz Erica. Journalist Stands by Graphic Story of 8-Year-Old Child Bride Dying on Wedding Night in Yemen: ‘Officials Are Trying to Bury the Story’. The Blaze.
but people cannot regard sacrificing females as the shortcut because if they insist to do so, both their economic and cultural world will be destroyed permanently. People usually analyze how something happens from both external factor and internal factor, if poverty belongs to external category, lack of education must be the internal one. In Mozambique, 60 % of girls will turn into child brides because of no education, by comparison, a girl with only secondary schooling level will be 6 times less likely to be a child bride and the percentage becomes only 1% if a girl has a higher education level.22 What’s more important, according to a research done by University of Massachusetts, the schooling level of a mother can even determine whether her daughter will become a child bride or not.23 It is not hard to imagine the reason of
the ratio between numbers of child brides and level of
Firstly, a person without education is like an unexploited virgin land, some outdated idea like gender inequality will always deeply rooted.
All the authoritative researches done by WHO, UN and UNICEF show that gender inequality has contributed as much to the growth of child brides as other factors such as poverty and traditions. 24 Under the effect of that, men gradually think they dominate everything even including abuse towards their young wives. What is worse, this kind of rooted idea also makes a woman believe that it is her destiny to be a child bride and suffer all the pain her master brings to her. Stronger one becomes more unscrupulous and the weaker one finally compromise on her own tragedy.
Child Marriage: What We Know. Columbia Business School. Web. 10 May 2014. Cristine Smith, Rebecca Paulson, Sarah Kahando. A model of women's educational factors related to delaying girls' marriage. International Review of Education/ Internationale Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft. Aug2012, Vol. 58 Issue 4, p533-555. 23p.
Child marriages: 39 000 every day.
Secondly, lack of education also directly makes those desperate child brides’ escaping plan impossible because they have been economically dependent for a long time. They have no ability to either get rid of their husbands or raise herself up. There is no way for them to charge a case towards her family’s sole bread-winner. It is also pathetic that even if they succeed escaping from this tragic marriage, they can’t live in this competitive society because they have never accepted education which makes them competitive. Those two points mentioned above are exactly the reasons why Indian government regards improvement of education as one of the most important ways to save child brides in Rajasthan.25
This research paper makes it more obvious that religions, poverty and illiteracy all make child bride become a more and more serious issue. Religious beliefs encourage their believers to sacrifice girls’ virginity by turning them into child brides. Poverty makes selling own daughter as the last resort for those poor families. Lack of education seems to announce being child brides is the only life choice for thousands of girls. Leo Tolstoy once said: “Every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way” no matter which reason puts those girls in such an embarrassing position as child brides, they certainly deserve much better than that.26 With the inspiration of this research paper, hope more and more people can offer help to those helpless girls mentally, economically and academically.
Educating Child Brides in Rajasthan India. Tuschman. Web. 12 May 2014. Leo Tolstoy. Anna Karenina. Moscow: The Russian Messenger, 1877. Print.
Works Cited Page
About Child Marriage. Girlsnotbrides. Web. May 16, 2014. Retrieved from: http://www.girlsnotbrides.org/about-child-marriage/(Idea only) A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle. The Phrase Finder. Web. 9 May 2014.
Bhowmick Nilanjana. India Criticized For Not Co-Sponsoring U.N. Child-Bride Resolution. Time.com. 18 May, 2014. Retrieved from:
http://web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?sid=d49cbaa1-325c-425d-a3b4-2ee29f753323%40se ssionmgr113&vid=1&hid=120&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=mih&A N=91264946
Child Marriage Facts and Figures. International Center for Research on Women. Web. 20 April 2014. Retrieved from:
Child marriages: 39 000 every day. World Health Organization. Web. 1 May 2014. Retrieved from:
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2013/child_marriage_20130307/e n/ Child Marriage: What We Know. Columbia Business School. Web. 10 May 2014. Retrieved from: http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/341/facts.html
Educating Child Brides in Rajasthan India. Tuschman. Web. 12 May 2014. Retrieved from: http://tuschman.wordpress.com/2012/04/06/educating-child-brides-in-rajasthan-in dia/ Empowering Women through Education. UNFPA. Web. 9 May 2014. Retrieved from http://www.unfpa.org/gender/empowerment2.htm (Idea Only)
Gender Inequality Overview. Center For Social Justice. Web. 15 May 2014. Retrieved from: http://www.socialjustice.org/index.php?page=gender-inequality (Idea Only) International Business Times. Yemeni Child Bride Story: Noora Al Shami Exposes Truth
Behind Her Life As Child Bride. Ebsco. 20131008. Web. Retrieved from: http://web.b.ebscohost.com/pov/detail?sid=81f210f0-5449-4532-acee-28e45571c604%40sess ionmgr110&vid=1&hid=126&bdata=Jmxhbmc9ZW4tY2Emc2l0ZT1wb3YtY2Fu#db=p3h& AN=512350.20131008
Partridge Amanda. Child bride? No, these secret marriages are child abuse. The Sydney Morning Herald. Web. 8 May 2014. Retrieved from:
Religious law vs. human rights: child brides. Concordat Watch. Web. 5 May 2014. Retrieved from: http://www.concordatwatch.eu/topic-48964.834
Ritz Erica. Journalist Stands by Graphic Story of 8-Year-Old Child Bride Dying on Wedding Night in Yemen:‘Officials Are Trying to Bury the Story’. The Blaze. Retrieved from:
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/09/09/journalist-stands-by-horrific-story-of-8-year-old -child-bride-dying-on-wedding-night-in-yemen-officials-are-trying-to- bury-the-story/ Smith Cristine, Paulson Rebecca, Kahando Sarah. A model of women's educational factors related to delaying girls' marriage. International Review of Education / Internationale Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft. Aug2012, Vol. 58 Issue 4, p533-555.
http://web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?sid=f522ec70-2fb7-4c44-8d86-0421190b3725%40se ssionmgr113&vid=1&hid=120&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=ehh&A N=78305221
Tolstoy Leo. Anna Karenina. Moscow: The Russian Messenger, 1877. Print. Trent Tererai. Child bride turned scholar: Education is the road out of poverty. CNN. July 2, 2013. Web. May 12,2014. Retrieved from:
1. Smith Cristine, Paulson Rebecca, Kahando Sarah. A model of women's educational factors related to delaying girls' marriage. International Review of Education / Internationale Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft. Aug2012, Vol. 58 Issue 4, p533-555. 23p.
This article is found in ebsco. It is published by International Review of Education with research of University of Massachusetts, which makes it really reliable. It no only clearly defines the relationship between number of child brides but also illustrates how lack of education of a mother will affect her daughter’s destiny. It is used to persuade audience that education does directly and indirectly determine whether a girl will turn into a child bride or not.
Child Marriage Facts and Figures. International Center for Research on Women. Web. 20 April 2014.
This is not really an article but more likely a lists of facts about child brides. It categorizes those information into data-related, religion related, poverty related, education related and so on. It is used many times in this essay, mainly demonstrating its global distribution and providing evidence for the relationship between growth of child brides and poverty. Educating Child Brides in Rajasthan India. Tuschman. Web. 12 May 2014. This is an article talking about Indian government is going to solve child brides issue by improving its education. It is quite reliable because it just directly describes Indian policy which cannot be easily faked. It is located at the end of the paragraph which describes that lack of education will increase number of child brides. It makes this point stronger by showing audience that even some big country consider education as a dominant factor of child brides just like this research paper does.