The curse of early marriage torments everyone’s conscience

30 March, 2019 12:00 AM printer

DOMAR: Though early marriage is a serious violation of child right, Aporna Sen, a daughter of a farmer at Jorarbari village in Domar upazila under Nilphamari district, fell prey to this social menace. They are three sisters and two brothers, reports BSS.

Faced with severe financial hardship Aporna’s father, who had to run a family of seven members, was looking for an opportunity to get her daughter married off early. One day he got a proposal of his daughter’s marriage through a close relative while Aporna was a student of class IX.

Without thinking that early marriage will simply deny her daughter the basic right to good health, nutrition and education, Aporna was married off.  After her marriage, Aporna became mother of a baby girl, afterwards she had to divorce her husband as he used to torture Aporna for dowry every now and then. At present she is working with a local NGO for her survival and rearing of her child.

Like Aporna, many girls under 18 years have to suffer a negative impact of early marriage on their physical growth, health, mental and emotional development and education opportunities. They are being cut off from educational opportunities and chances of personal growth.

Early marriage reinforces a cycle of poverty and perpetuates gender discrimination, illiteracy and malnutrition as well as high infant and maternal mortality rates. Poverty and weak enforcement of laws are significant factors that increase the risk of girl being married off while still a child.

Social customs, tradition, family and social pressures and economic condition perpetuate the practice of early marriage. Unfortunate part of the story is that girl child is generally considered to be a burden to be married off as early as possible. Parents see early marriage as a way to secure the girl’s future socially and economically.