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Child Marriage - Culture, Tradition or Religion?

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Shabu-Shabu
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Child Marriage - Culture, Tradition or Religion?

Postby Shabu-Shabu » Tue, 30 Aug 2005 4:45 pm

While sitting with my fiance's friends, sipping ice teh tarik and listening to their banter, I got the biggest shock of my life when one of his friends, a guy from KSA (Saudi Arabia), in a manner I can only describe as 'unblinkingly' or 'non-chalant', remarked that his mother was only 13 when she got married to his father, a 27 year old man, and gave birth to 9 children, of which he is one of them.

Now I've heard of this from friends, and I've read about it in books, and debates, questions from me about this to my friends from Pakistan, Bangledesh, India (not KSA, never met a guy from KSA before, he's my first), they claim it's "rare".

But this guy tells us it's very common. Everyone nods uneasily and glances over to me, the only non-South Asian/Arab in the group, to see how I take it, like its some dirty laundry that shouldn't have been aired but happened to just did.
He tells me how KSA, it's common for girls this young to marry. Girls cry and try to kill themselves or live in dishonour and eternal disgrace if they're found to not have bled on their wedding nights, or if they've been stupid enough to have been duped of their virginity to some womanising male wolf with a sweet tongue, and disappears the next day.

Then another guy, known to be a big mouth in the group, blabs, about how some of his relatives marry their kids at 3 and have their marriage consummated when the girl is 8 or 9, only to give birth two or three years later as a juvenile, wed to a man of 30.
There's a deathly silence, and everyone looks uneasy. Because I shifted awkwardly in my seat trying to swallow all this.

How can it be acceptable in today's society? How can it be acceptable to these young men who, for God's sake, doing their Bachelor's when they're only in their early twenties?

I've read of how in India, marriage can take place when the kids are just...well, kids. How in mid-east, it isn't so much of a big deal for a girl to be given away like chattel to men twice their age.

I'm sure you've all read about how the Sultan of Brunei's son married a teenage girl half his age. Everyone there was "cheering" and "congratulating" him.
But is this right? Is it ethical?
Is it because of religion? I've always argued with my fiance how it is connected with religion - Mother Mary gave birth when she was a teenage girl, the Prophet of Islam married a 6 year old girl and consummated his marriage when she was 9.
He died when she was 18 or 19 and could never marry again because of her status in Islam as the "Mother Of Believers".

Some may argue this happened in the past, and it was okay for men to do so. If so, why is it still happening today? Accepted by men who are supposedly educated, and well-versed in modern society - listening to R&B, rap, pop and yet having such antiquated thinking?

Can anyone give me an explanation? I can't accept how these girls lose their entire childhood, and give their life to an aging man who's going to leave them with many kids, and no one to support them when they're mid-aged.
Meowing out,
- Shabu-Shabu -

stefania
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Re: Child Marriage - Culture, Tradition or Religion?

Postby stefania » Tue, 30 Aug 2005 9:39 pm

Shabu-Shabu wrote:Can anyone give me an explanation? I can't accept how these girls lose their entire childhood, and give their life to an aging man who's going to leave them with many kids, and no one to support them when they're mid-aged.


I don't think they have a choice in this matter for most girls, parents mostly decide their children's futures in such societies. Once the parents see fit that she's of "marriageable age", she's bethrothed to someone.

Anyway, i know something more crazier. I watched this show on marriages in Nepal and this girl has been bethrothed to all 5 brothers in a family. She married the eldest and as the younger ones come of age, she'll marry them in turn. So she'll eventually marry 5 men of the same family and will probably bear each one of them children who will be cousins as well as siblings. Very weird.

stefania
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Postby stefania » Tue, 30 Aug 2005 9:41 pm

I forgot to add that the girl was still a teenager and the first brother she married was also a teenager.

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Shabu-Shabu
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Postby Shabu-Shabu » Fri, 02 Sep 2005 3:36 pm

That's too weird.
Don't they have any sympathy for a young girl who's going to be having sex with many men at a time like some...well, unpaid prostitute rotated nights by some horny guys?
And the child marriage thing - a lot of them die during childbirth, and I read more than 90% of them are abused by their husbands and family, and are mostly illiterate.
It also happens in the U.S, I heard, especially in utah where men marry many young wives, as much as 60.

Why does child marriage happen?? I still can't accept the fact that the girl's family is the one that sends her off to her demise. What is her mother doing to save her daughter?
Meowing out,

- Shabu-Shabu -


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