Child marriage, a widespread problem in many countries in East and Southern Africa, is a serious violation of girls’ human rights. It denies their right to health care, to education, to live in security, and to choose when and whom they marry. Child marriage has dire consequences for girls. Be inspired by this video produced by David Chisanga for DMC Studio.
Child Marriages reinforces and compromises the health and security of women and girls. It prevents girls from achieving their full economic and social potential. It subjects girls to sexual violence, risky pregnancies, fistula, and HIV. And it is linked with early childbearing, leading to death and injury for many young mothers.
In East and Southern Africa, 27 per cent of women have given birth by age 18 – and the majority of these births occur within marriage. Death in childbirth and HIV-related diseases are the two main causes of mortality among young women in sub-Saharan Africa.
Child marriage jeopardizes girls’ rights, such as the right to education, because new brides are usually forced to drop out of school to bear children and to provide household labor. In addition, married girls have few social connections, restricted mobility, limited control over resources, and little or no power in their new households. They are thus especially vulnerable to domestic violence.
The practice excludes girls from making decisions regarding the timing of their marriage and choice of spouse. It marks an abrupt and violent initiation into sexual relations, often with a husband who is considerably older, and a relative stranger