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The Marriage of Children

A crime against humanity

Marriage is a global institution and if we step back into history there was a natural pairing off mostly between young men and women as they reached a balance of physical and mental maturity that enabled them to live happily and raise a family.

It is probable that there has always been some deviant or criminal behaviour within tribal groups but more so in the field of conquest. But the majority of the world's population who had achieved a sense of balance and purpose in life would instinctively know when the time for marriage was right and this time was defined as when the girl is capable of bearing children and caring for them.

Throughout history the menstrual cycle generally began at around age 12 to 14. It is then that the instinct to mate and have children would begin to kick in, but most elders knew that childbirth could be highly dangerous and generally cautioned girls to avoid pregnancy until their bodies were properly developed.

With the arrival of patriarchal society around 6000 years ago, women became mere possessions, toys for men and objects to be traded. This gender bias as been rampant across the Middle East and North Africa were along with other bad attitudes it has suppressed the development of civilisation and culminated with the rise of Islam.

In the secular world, all we have formulated laws and an age of consent which varies between 12 and 21. In nations where there is little education and poverty, child marriage is very common is represented by the statistics below. But in Islamic nations men's whim has precedence over national law and even common-sense that some Islamic countries have zero restrictions about relations between men, young girls and even babies.

Married and divorced by age 10

Every year, an estimated 10 million girls aged under 18 are married worldwide with little or no say in the matter. That’s more than 25,000 girls every day, or 19 every minute. In the developing world, one in seven girls is married before her 15th birthday and some child brides are as young as eight or nine.

Neither physically nor emotionally ready to become wives and mothers, these girls are at far greater risk of experiencing dangerous complications in pregnancy and childbirth, becoming infected with HIV/AIDS and suffering domestic violence. With little access to education and economic opportunities, they and their families are very likely to remain trapped in poverty.

While boys are sometimes subjected to early marriage, girls are disproportionately affected and form the vast majority of the victims of child marriage. A comparison of the proportion of young women aged 15-19 who were married in 2003 to young men aged 15-19 who were married in the same year found the ratio to be 72 to 1 in Mali, 8 to 1 in the US, and 6 to 1 in El Salvador.

According to The International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW), One third of girls in the developing world are married before the age of 18 and 1 in 9 are married before the age of 15.  UNICEF says that Globally, about one in seven of all adolescent girls (aged 15 to 19) are currently married or in union. West and Central Africa has the highest proportion of married adolescents (27 per cent), followed by Eastern and Southern Africa (21 per cent) and the Middle East and North Africa (14 per cent).

Across the globe, rates of child marriage are highest in sub-Saharan Africa, where around 4 in 10 girls marry before age 18; about one in eight were married or in union before age 15. This is followed by Latin America, the Caribbean with 24 per cent, the Middle East and North Africa where 18 per cent of women between the ages of 20 and 24 were married in childhood.

Thea, the child bride who in the course of a month became a global icon in the fight against child marriage. Plan International Norway's campaign #stopthewedding reached people all over the world and has received numerous awards.

"Egypt’s illegal child sex tourism trade appears to have put a regional-friendly spin on the practice by portraying the buying and selling of children as a form of marriage, thus giving them a thin veneer of religious acceptability by circumventing Islamic rules against pre-marital sex.

Some girls have been married 60 times by the time they turn 18,” an Egyptian government official who works on the issue told Inter Press Service. “Most ‘marriages’ last for just a couple of days or weeks.

It estimated that the vast majority of the buyers came from Gulf countries, with 81 percent from Saudi Arabia, 10 percent from the United Arab Emirate and 4 percent from Kuwait." ~ Washington Post

India:

The website indiaspend.com states that Nearly 12 million Indian children were married before the age of 10 years–84% of them Hindu and 11% Muslim as revealed in revealed in census data, however I can find no correlation and this seems to be an anti-Hindu sentiment.

Reports state that while India faces many challenges in the area of child marriage and early pregnancy, there is cause to be hopeful and invest more in programming that addresses these issues. For example, girls that pursue secondary schooling are seventy percent less likely to marry as children.

Wikipedia states that Child marriages were prevalent in India and that estimates vary widely between sources as to the extent and scale of child marriages. The International Center for Research on Women-UNICEF publications have estimated India's child marriage rate to be 47% from small sample surveys of 1998, while the United Nations reports it to be 30% in 2005.

The Census of India has counted and reported married women by age, with proportion of females in child marriage falling in each 10 year census period since 1981. In its 2001 census report, India stated zero married girls below age 10, 1.4 million married girls out of 59.2 million girls aged 10–14, and 11.3 million married girls out of 46.3 million girls aged 15–19. Since 2001, child marriage rates in India have fallen another 46%, reaching an overall nationwide average 7% child marriage rates by 2009.

Jharkhand is the state with highest child marriage rates in India (14.1%), while Kerala is the only state where child marriage rates have increased in recent years due to the rise in Islam and Christianity. Rural rates of child marriages were three times higher than urban India rates in 2009. These statistics show that there has been a decline in the marriage of underage girls across India. To put this in context, we must realise that the population is becoming better educated and girls can now have careers. We must also put this in perspective of the Sanatana Dharma (Hindu) majority and the Muslim minority.

Traditionally within the Hindu society before colonisation, most girls and boys would be pre-married. That is their social and genetic history would be matched in terms of intellectual compatibility and producing strong healthy children with as much genetic variance as possible than what is referred to as the Gotra system. The children would continue to live with their parents until such time as they were old enough and a 'Gauna' or going away ceremony would be performed.

There is no certainty, but it seems probable that as today there would have been a divide between rich and poor with the poor consummating their marriages at a younger age than their rich counterparts. But the ideal Hindu marriage was governed more by intelligence than by economic factors.

It seems probable that given India's proximity and trade with Middle East and cultures where before Islam, Sanatana Dharma had a strong influence. But Islam cemented patriarchy to a form of common or personal law giving the freedom of men a carte blanche right to dominate or woman and have sex with children.

As a secular country with the worlds largest Muslim polulation, India is doing his best to implement Western-style laws protecting the rights of women and children. This is perfectly fine with the Hindu majority, but the Moslem's are vehemently against this and consist of their personal Sharia law takes precedence over the law the land giving them the right to possess woman's bodies for their own pleasure.

The available Indian government statistics only reflect to 2011 but it seems probable that as previous statistics indicate, underage marriage in Hindu society is continuing to fall. In part this is in part because the Gotra system has fallen into disuse and Western law and values is taking precedence. The real driving factor of underage marriage, incest and child abuse across India is primarily within the Islamic communities where women continue to have no rights, no voice and their primary value is economic as the men can have several wives.

While so many like to point the finger at India, in supposedly developed countries like the USA it is perfectly legal and common practice for 12-year-old girls to be married yet within Muslim communities in the USA, much younger girls are very commonly molested and married. Actual Sex Laws

As the Muslim tide spreads across Europe, the same problems are emerging. It's not just the widespread rape and crime taking place, its the masses of Muslim men enjoying the perverse privilege of having underage wives within the enclaves that they are creating in most major European cities. If one reads the newspapers, is quite common to see stories of girls six or eight years old who have been married off for a price only to die from sexual abuse by husbands who are sometimes more than 50 years older.

As the modern world moves forwards and women pursuing careers instead of marriages and even putting off having children to the point they need medical intervention to conceive, the Islamic world remains trapped in a time warp despoiling the lives of millions of young girls.

There are many agencies and welfare groups that have been formed to try and protect these girls and they all deserve your support. You may think some girl in some far off country may be reaping the rewards of some past life karma, but that is simple bull shit. No child deserves to be abused in this way, no one has the right to impose this kind of suffering. No matter where you live, the chances are that some child in your own neighbourhood is being sexually abused. Even though some societies and countries like Turkey sanctions this with marriage, abuse is still abuse and it affects everyone.

Organisations to Stop Child Marriage:

Plan International
Breakthrough – global

CARE – Global
Egyptian Foundation for Advancement of the Childhood Condition – Egypt
Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) – Tanzania
Forward – UK
Girls Not Brides – Global
Girls UP – USA
Humanium: Help the Children – Global
ICRW – USA
Saarthi Trust – India
Save the Children – global
Seyaj – Yemen
The Coexist Initiative – KenyaThe Knowledge Hub on Child Marriage – India
Vasavya Mahila Mandali – India 
World Vision – Marriage Later/Studies First Programme – Bangladesh

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