Forced marriage of a minor
The news of three people – a mother, stepfather and husband- being sent to jail for forcing a twelve-year-old girl into marriage, brings to the fore the terrible malaise called child marriage that afflicts us. Despite an Act that prohibits girls under 18 to be married, the number of girls married before that age is around 66 percent.
The report describes how the minor's mother and stepfather forced her to marry a 38-year-old man who gave her sedatives and raped her for five days. It was only because locals were outraged by this incident that the culprits were arrested. We cannot imagine the trauma this little girl has gone through or what more she will have to bear in the future. But this case certainly highlights the immediacy in taking actions to stop child marriage that allows for such abuse.
Rights activists and the media have been shouting themselves hoarse to bring to attention how crucial it is to put an end to this medieval practice that robs a child of her childhood and takes her out of school. We cannot lose any more time over such a crucial issue and the government must take serious steps to enforce the law that prohibits child marriage. The fight to put an end to this deplorable abuse must be fought together with the help of parents, teachers, lawmakers, law enforcers and local government officials. Mass media campaigns are therefore a must along with enforcement of the existing Act. Child marriage must be made unacceptable in the eyes of society.
Adequate punishment to those who conspired to force the twelve-year-old into a situation in which she was sexually abused will be a step forward in the fight against child marriage.