Child Brides

Satisfactory Essays
The practice of marrying off girls has been done for thousands of years and has been practiced widely around the world in many different cultures. Throughout history, women have been treated as second-class citizens; this institutionalized oppression has burdened women through the years, from the ancient practices of Sati and footbinding to present day’s rape culture, misogyny has taken shape in many forms. According to the organization, UNICEF, child marriage is defined as the “formal marriage or informal union before age 18”, a harmful custom that plagues both boys and girls alike, but disproportionately affects girls most. Girls as young as eight, are often forced to marry men multiple times their age; this practice often strips girls of access to an education and puts them into abusive situations that jeopardize their health.
Its origins can date back to biblical times, where Ancient Jewish law, found in the Old Testament, stated that a girl could be betrothed by intercourse at three years and one day (Neusner, cited by Karim). At this time, people married at a very young age, despite the law most girls were betrothed before puberty and consummated at puberty, around age 8 or older. Girls were married off especially young for this could ensure virginity, and for that men are willing to pay a hefty bride price. Due to the low life expectancy, parents urged their daughters to marry and bear multiple children just as soon.

Similarly, during Medieval and Renaissance times, girls of noble families betrothed under age 10, and married soon after, but as Melisende of the blog, Women Of History, explains marriage did not necessarily mean that it was consummated but “there was a perception that once a girl began her period that she wa...

... middle of paper ...

...ed on their newsfeed, but because we live such an interconnected society it is easier than ever before to learn about problematic issues that cripple countries around the world. It is our turn to play philanthropists and it is through intolerance, and education that we rid ourselves of ignorance and raise awareness to make changes.

Works Cited
UNICEF. “Child Marriage.” n.p., 21 Dec 2012. Web. 14 Feb 2014.
GirlsNotBrides. n.p., 2002. Web. 27 Jan 2014.
Karim, Kaleef. “Bible: Child Marriage in Ancient Israelite Times.”
Wordpress, 14 Sep 2013. Web. 4 Feb 2014.
Melisende. “Medieval Marriage & Childbirth.” Blogger, 29 Aug
2007. Web. 4 Feb 2014.
United Nations Population Fund. “Empowering Girls.” National Geographic. Sep 2011: 35-38. Print.
Zackowitz, Margaret. “Girl Power.” National Geographic. Sep 2011: 34. Print.
Get Access