1. Child Marriage and Forced Marriage
Forum on Marriage and the Rights of Women and Girls Child Marriage and Forced Marriage
“When I was 10 my parents arranged for me to marry in the forest. They pretended it was just a party. But it was a wedding and they sent me away. My mother never told me I was going to be married. They came and took me by force. I cried but it didn't make any difference. Child Bride aged 10.”
2. What is child marriage?
i. Child/Early marriage refers to any marriage of a child younger than 18 years old, in accordance to Article 1 of the Convention on the Right of the Child. While child marriage affects both sexes, girls are disproportionately affected as they are the majority of the victims. Their overall development is compromised, leaving them socially isolated with little education, skills and opportunities for employment and self-realisation. This leaves child brides more vulnerable to poverty, a consequence of child marriage as well as a cause.
ii. Child marriage is now widely recognised as a violation of children's rights, a direct form of discrimination against the girl child who as a result of the practice is often deprived of her basic rights to health, education, development and equality. Tradition, religion and poverty continue to fuel the practice of child marriage, despite its strong association with adverse reproductive health outcomes and the lack of education of girls.
3. Child and forced marriage
A forced marriage is defined as a marriage "conducted without the valid consent of one or both parties and is a marriage in which duress - whether physical or emotional - is a factor" . FORWARD believes that any child marriage constitutes a forced marriage, in recognition that even if a child appears to give their consent, anyone under the age of 18 is not able to make a fully informed choice whether or not to marry. Child marriages must be viewed within a context of force and coercion, involving pressure and emotional blackmail and children that lack the choice or capacity to give their full consent.
4. Where does Child marriage occur?
SOURCE: UNICEF, 2005 
The map above (OPEN THE LINK) shows the countries in the world where child marriage is practiced and gives an indication of the percentage of girls affected by child marriage in each country. Child marriage is a worldwide phenomenon but is most prevalent in Africa and Southern Asia and although its practice has decreased somewhat in recent decades, it remains common in, although not only confined to, rural areas and among the most poverty stricken .
i. Girl-Childhood Marriage highlights the pedophiliac sexual depravity of such men!
ii.The failure of the Society to end the practice means approval and endorsement of such practice!
iii.The practice of Girl-Childhood Marriage is Gender-Persecution for the Girl-Child and Women!
iv. Failure to end the practice is denying them the security of their lives; and fundamental human rights!!!
My late husband used to describe such cases of sexual association of a man with, or marriage to, a girls or woman who is more than two to four years under his age as:“INWULI ARURU - PREYING ON ANTS!”. It is so because, he used to argue, as the two of them could not be peers, of the same Age-Grade, or of a combination of two adjacent Age-Grades, as is sometimes the case, they could not have much in common, as having much in common is paramount in such associations!
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO END THIS GENDER PERSECUTION OF THE GIRL-CHILD AND WOMEN?
i. See to it that every girl-child and boy-child is given equal opportunity for education – especially at home!
ii. Speak out boldly against Girl-Childhood Marriage and Pedophilia!
iii. Do all you can to stop Girl-Childhood Marriage and Pedophiliac Cases that may come to your attention!
iv Have your Association take action towards stopping this Evil and deadly practice in Igboland!!!