Getting married to young girls or being intimate with them has been normalized in different countries and cultures. Many are against it, while there are others who are okay with it. It is important to understand what child marriage entails and how it impacts society.
What are Child Marriages?
Child marriage is a marital union between a spouse who is under the legal age of consent.
Who is affected by child marriages?
Both boys and girls are affected by this but mostly girls because it has been normalized to see older men with young girls. While on the other hand there are older women who are ashamed to be seen with their male counterparts because of the conflict or backlash that comes with it.
How do child marriages come about?
Survival is crucial and some families have no other choice but to use their child as an incentive to gain some sort of monetary value.
In other instances, there are religious factors that could play a part and cultural beliefs. These scenarios are difficult to overlook because if the family resists they could be removed from the tribe.
Which Social Classes are most associated with Child Marriages?
It is very normal to see an extremely rich man marrying a young girl who could have grown up in a lower social class. In rare instances will you see two people of the same class (usually lower class)getting married because there wouldn’t be a solid foundation.
What are some of the effects of Child Marriages?
-Greener Pastures for the younger spouse and exposure to a better quality of living
– Through getting married to someone with more money the spouse’s family could elevate financially through payments done through traditional marriages such as lobola and getting groceries through annual visits.
-The younger spouse will feel as though their freedom could have been taken away because older partners tend to be more controlling of their younger counterparts
-The younger Spouse could begin to resent their family for giving them away because the transition will seem beautiful but they might not be prepared for the dynamics and might not know who they are as human beings and this usually occurs during the mid-life crisis and menopause
How can Child Marriages be lowered?
Africa is made up of Economically Developing Countries which puts it at a disadvantage because:
-Not every young individual is able to receive empowering and applicable information that could create a positive impact on their lives
-There are people who are refusing to change with the times not because they can’t but because the old system works in their favor and that type of thinking has disabled many countries from reaching their highest peak.
-Job Creation is important and having workshops that can empower uninformed people about how to create money and manage it as they fluctuate. This will create some sense of stability for the family.