July 2, 2014 5:48 pm 0 comments Views: 1024

Children, Child, Kids, Young, Youth, Joy, Happiness, All these words to me mean something,

they mean innocence, no fear, living life at that stage, it means going to school, it means playing

with friends, it means living at home with my family, It means having our loved ones around us,

It means dreaming about what my life will be like. But what happens when all this is taken away

from you for so many reasons, and not because you want it to but because you have to, because

you were forced to, use it’s the only way of living, becbecause it’s the only way you can save

your family and your very own life.

“It is known that the universe is unpredictable and humanity is naturally not capable of truly

expecting the unexpected.” What makes the difference though is the way we handle the


Who would have imagined that things like child marriage still exist? Weren’t these things that

once were and shouldn’t be? Shouldn’t there be an end to this? Why should there be child

marriage anyway? How can we end this then?

A young Sudanese girl whose name has not been mentioned for legal reasons, aged thirteen from

the Rashida tribe gets sold to marry a man forty five years of age, whom is as old as her father

and already has two wives, making her his third.

Her father was known to have allegedly arranged this illegal marriage between his thirteen year

old daughter and forty five year old man. This man is also known as friend of her father. The

main reason for her marriage he claims is that he does not want his daughter to sin.

“She is growing older and she has many friends around her, she should be protected.” He said

Her mother doesn’t want to see her daughter into a marriage with a man she had never met but

she can’t see any other way for her family to survive. This man promised her mother that he will

send her and her family money every month.

The young girl, whose name has not been mentioned for legal reasons, bride price is SDG 50

million paid by the groom to consent her parents in marrying their daughter. According to the

family this is known as desperate economic condition. Thus most families would marry their

girls early once they have collected what they call “dowry”.

This young girl whom is the eldest amongst her three siblings was pulled out of school by her

mother and father. She was simply told that she was to be married.

The young girl still being a child not knowing what marriage really is, cried and did not want

to leave her school and her friend’s, also she was the only one amongst her classmates who had

being put through such a situation.

Her mother however knew how to convince her daughter and told her that this man is rich and

will be able to take care of their family as her father could not afford to and that she would get

nice things from this man whenever she wanted if she went with him. And there it was the young

girl was tricked into marrying him.

For this young girl, who lived in extreme poverty with her mother and siblings at her

grandmother’s house, the thought of swapping a life of hardship for that of a wife proved enough

to convince her to give up school in order to get married.

This young girl was living with her mother in her grandmother’s house when she first met the

man who would become her husband.

After meeting a few times at the family home, Preparations for the big day began to take place,

clothes and gifts for the young girl were bought.

“The clothes that were bought for her were so small, the size of a child, how can my sister sell

her daughter like that, she is still a baby” Said Amira her aunt.

The mother who cannot be named for legal reasons also allegedly gave the young girl sex advice,

and did not take any comments from those around her.

The marriage took place and no one was able to do anything about it. They were married in an

Islamic ceremony at the young girl’s grandmother’s home, where all their relatives were invited.

“It’s very difficult to go against tradition, and plus the husband offered a large amount of

money” said another of her Aunts

Child marriage by definition is known as an informal union entered into a child before the age

of 18. The question that arises in this case is why are children being sold for marriage? Is it

tradition? Is it the lack of education? Is it the patriarchal gender system women have and are still

living in? Or is it the poor socioeconomic status of Sudan? So many questions come up to our

minds and yet nothing is being done about it.

Today child marriage is common throughout human history and is very widespread in some

developing areas around the world. According to UN figures 14.2 million girls are forced into

marriage each year, from India, Middle East, and Africa.

Sudanese women and girls between ages 15 and 19 are married, some as young as age 12. Many

families in many parts of Sudan see child marriage as a means of accessing cattle, money, and

other gifts by transferring wealth through the traditional payment of dowries.

So what does the court have to say about this young girls situation? Samira another one of her

aunts went to court and reported this situation as a crime. She was told that if she could change

her mother’s mind, whom is the aunts sister then they will be able to face the father, otherwise

they cannot do anything because this young girl agrees and is happy about her marriage.

Despite all the national laws in several other parts of the world and international agreements,

child marriage today remains as a threat to human rights, lives and health of children especially

to girls.

Sudan needs a law that protects children against marriage, we need strong laws that should make

marriage before the age of 18 illegal, we need a law, such as customary marriage act, violence

act, or any other law that is to protect these young girls.

When looking at this young girls situation part of her family agree to her wedding, whereas part

do not. Her elder uncle disagreed and stated that she should get married. As he is the eldest no

one else should have any say in this.

Mohamed her cousin tried to save this young girl by promising to marry her in the near future,

but her father disapproved of him because he had nothing to offer yet. Mohamed is still in his

first stage of life, building his future.

“I didn’t even go to her wedding. It was very upsetting to see her go through this. Now her

mother doesn’t even talk to me, she doesn’t even say hi to me when she sees me.” He said

“She claims, I did not support her and stand by her side. But how could I? This is a crime! ” He


Is this thirteen year old girl really mature enough, does she really know the meaning of marriage

and what is getting into? Is she going to live her life, following into the shoes of her mother,

not having a word, not studying, not working, just staying home, having children, cooking and


This young girl is going through the same thing her mother went through. Her mother is the

third and last wife, she was also married the same way, being her mother’s fault.

She is being treated unfairly, and ironically the age difference between her and her husband is

also big. Her husband is never around her and yet never asks about his children, Nevertheless, he

hardly knows any of his children. He has twenty and hardly even remembers any of their names.

Moreover, He has no money to feed them.

Is this what was written for not just her but so many like her? Isn’t this this inhumane practice,

doesn’t it go against the Islamic law?

The consequences are appalling. Along with their education being cut short, girls suffer

traumatic initiation into sexual relationships, are put at risk of domestic violence and have the

chance of a better life or career taken away from them.

According to UN figures many die in childbirth or from related pregnancy complications, hence

Child marriage is an appalling violation of human rights.

This child’s marriage caused the ending of her education. “I wish she could go back to school,

now she’s married and all she does is sit at home” said Mohamed her cousin

This young girl now lives in Kasala with the family of her husband whereas, her husband works

in Saudi. She was just a child when she was forced to marry a stranger, shattering all her dreams

for the future.

“I did not know the meaning of marriage and accepted it because I did not know any better.” She


So where will this journey take her? No girl should be forced to marry. Why deprive girls of

their childhood? Every girl should have the opportunity to complete her education and make

choices about her future. With education and the right support, girls can transform their lives and

the world around them. It does not have to be this way. We must and should bring an end to this,

more young girls are at risk every single day. Together we can and must end child marriage.

“It is known that the universe is unpredictable and humanity is naturally not capable of truly

expecting the unexpected.” What makes the difference though is the way we handle the


Let’s Stop Child Marriage.

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