Child Marriage : Minor Wedding with Minor Attention

Sometimes I just can’t believe what I read in the newspaper. Such as the news of 43-year-old man who took a 12-year-old girl as his second wife (further reading in Indonesian). I’m trying hard to think about what was in his mind? Well, I think it’s not my part to judge his decision, for I have no right. But at least, let me write down how I feel about such things.

Ulfa (12yo) and Syeh Puji (43 yo)
Ulfa (12yo) and Syeh Puji (43 yo)

Children are like jewelry. That’s the belief that I grew up with. Until now, for I’m working with children, I still believe those belief. I agree that we have to respect children and their rights. We need to take care of children for they are the next generation to lead this universe. And we need to facilitate – not provide – their needs to be able to grow up and have a sense of well-being.

When people treat a child as nothing, it means that they waste their future generation for nothing. Child couples are one example of treating children inappropriately. In their development, each child needs a shelter to facilitate them. In common, it means their parents or family. But sometimes, those loved ones turn out to be the ‘bad guy’ for the children. They ‘sell’ their children (especially girls) to go for under age wedding. In India, it has been social customs for hundred years and it’s still happening now … “some estimates put the number of child marriages in the country at several thousands every year. In some cases, the bride and the groom are said to be little more than toddlers, though the majority are in their teens.” (further reading)

11 yo Groom in India
11 yo Groom in India

The effects of child marriage are coming next. Let’s say, the abandonment of the bride, who is usually taken as an unpaid servant in the groom’s family and not as a wife. The bride’s family feels relieve after sending off their daughter for marriage, because it means they have no burden anymore. It is due to the culture that the bride’s family have to pay for the marriage expenses.

Another effect is the risk of having babies in their young age. Most of the girls lost their babies because they have to understanding about how to raise a baby and most of all, because their bodies are not mature enough to carry a baby in their womb. Imagine a child or teenager have to raise a baby! I’m 27 years old now and still thinking on how hard child-rearing is.

Don’t forget with the high numbers of divorce and being widows/widowers. They have been used to do it. Many of those 40-50 years old men and women in India have been re-married for 4-5 times! If someone has no second chance to re-married, he/she will be ashame. Yeah, what a shame to think this way…

Child bride and her baby
Child bride and her baby

Parents often say to make a wish for the world … so, it will be able to create a better world and having a high level of well-being among us.

It is still a wish for those stolen generation.

Let’s make a wish for them!

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