Major causes of early forced marriages
Adults hold a believe that they are entitled to impose children to marriage, girls are robbed off their dignity and chances to decide for themselves concerning who to marry and the right time for it. We are defined by choices and they also lead us towards realization of potentials. Girls should be given this golden chance (UNICEF, 2015).
Key significant identified causes include poverty and economic needs, ignorance, cultural and social norms, wars and conflicts in the society. Ignorance comes about when parents perceive it better and safer to marry off their daughters and avoid shame of conception out of wedlock. It also makes societies believe that marriage at tender age is a way of protection from violence and sexual attacks (UNPA, 2018) .Social and cultural norms still remain top in persisting early forced marriages. Some beliefs and traditions require daughters to be driven away under laid down agreements with other families. The girls have no choice other than to comply. Pressure exists within the community and girls are simply married of because their parents don’t want them to be left out by their age mates.
Discrimination between boys and girls also is a key contributor; this is in issues pertaining to education whereby boys are allowed to school and girls to marry.
Existence of social and religious stigma pertaining age of girl marriage forces guardians to allow female children to get married in order to overcome it. Girls are also betrothed to develop relationships pertaining to politics (Worldatlas, 2017)
Countries go through various incidences of young girls’ abduction and are married and held captives while others are marketed for marriage. This is during periods of instability following conflicts and war. This wars and conflicts’ also lead to increased poverty and subsequently girls married off or choosing to get married at early age (Presse, 2013)
Early marriages also occur because young girls are considered to be more obedient compared to the older ones and also due to poor children protection law enforcement (international p. , 2018)
Girls are married off by their fathers in Kisumu County because of poverty. Daughters are viewed as assets and are married off in exchange for wealth in the form of dowry. Girls are the chief source of income for debts payment out of their parents’ ignorance (oliech, 2016).
The beading tradition practiced in Turkana is a temporary way of getting young girls in to a relationship with old men. The adult male buys the beads with the consent from the girls’ family as an engagement sign. This occurs as early as 2-4 years of age when the girls are booked for marriage since this marks the first bride price. With subsequent years cattle are brought as the girl continue to grow. This is the chief source of wealth acquisition in this region for poor families. The girls are forever marked and prized asset which is celebrated from birth. Full dowry for these girls is paid by the age of 12-15 years. Since poverty is severe in this region girls are even forced to look for their own food, desperation leads them to look for men who can provide for them regardless of age differences. (njanja, 2017)
Socioeconomic and cultural differences vary from region to region which also promote child marriages. The living and growing area determines at what age those from the region will marry. In India half of the girls are married before 18 years and highest rates are recorded only in five states. Similarly the same pattern was observed in Ethiopia where half of the early marriages were concentrated in only four regions in the north. (icrw, 2012)
A common reason for a large number of child marriages among the Maasai community is because the woman is viewed as a communal asset, men knowingly attack and rape them without the elders stopping them. Girls here are robbed of their education and youth as early as eight years. Female parents have no powers to talk about this issue because it’s the fathers who are involved; this leaves the girls and their mothers with no choice than to obey. This is so strict that the mothers don’t even get a chance to advice the girls on marital matters before they are driven off following cattle payment as dowry. They learn the hard way in the course of their marriage. (Action!aid, n.d). The girls don’t speak up for themselves since this is not taught to them and don’t know how to work towards future for managerial purposes. They only grow up knowing their future is being wives and mothers. The few privileged to attend school receive no attention from tutors as boys do, back at home they rarely study but are involved in house work.