Child marriages are now on the rise, according to the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), 100 million girls will be married before the age of 18 in the coming decade. This number is terrifying and obnoxious.
What made me think and research more about this topic is an Egyptian show that was aired this Ramadan on TV. It was called ‘القاصرات’ (The minors). The show triggered the issue of child marriages in a small Egyptian village. The plot was centred by a wealthy elder who offered money to the families of three young girls (not older than 13 years old) in order to marry them.
The story goes on with a lot of physical, emotional and mental issues caused by this old man to the three girls and the rest of the village. It ends tragically when the three ‘children’ stab the old man to death while he was sleeping. The scene is filmed with a lot of anger and frustration where with every stab you see, one can feel their tragic emotions that is killing the man who raped and murdered their innocence and childhood. The girls are taken by the police to prison and the ending is left open for the viewer to draw out his/her own analysis.
Yes killing is wrong. But, can one justify the killing of a disgusting obnoxious childhood stealer? I guess not. No one has the right to take his life away from him, especially in that brutal way. However, if you think of it from another angle, that is exactly what the old man did. He sucked the life and soul from these young girls and tortured them. He made them get off their swings and depart their books, so he can enjoy some wifely duties from a 12 year old. And what is even worse, no one can save them. It is completely legal. If their parents are that willing to throw their daughters away, then where is the law? Where are the ethics and religious responsibility?
A character in the show portrayed religion and especially Islam. The majority of pro-child marriages claim that their religion allows them to marry young and whoever they wish. However, the Sheikh of the village in the show said something really important and which crossed out any accusations to any religion. He said: ‘the base of a household is the woman, if the woman is a little girl who is not capable to take care of her own home and children then that marriage is completely faulty and unethical.’ He also added that the key factors to marriage is ‘الإيجاب والقبول’ which is offer and acceptance. How can a little child be mentally able and physically ready to say yes and accept her eternal bound to someone? Both these points make child marriage against any religion.
The number of child marriages should not be on the rise, especially with the world now being open to technology and social media. Anyone who is going to marry someone by force or actually ‘buying’ his wife should be disowned and the law should include tough punishments for whoever robs a child his/her childhood. It should be boldly named rape and not marriage. It is not a holy bound and will never be, despite the way it’s justified.
I believe that education changes and is the leap that should be taken in small villages which still live under old values that are currently considered immoral. Educate yourselves and your girls, support them and stand up for them. They are not items to sell & buy.