More than 15 million young women all around the world get married before the age of 18, and this number continues to rise. Children as young as six years old are being sold into forced marriages with men who are old enough to be their grandfathers and great-grandfathers. Some of these men are even older than their great-grandfathers.
In certain cultures, the men are allowed to have many wives, but in others, they are content to have only one child bride. But the childhoods of 28 young women are being snatched away from them at a rate of one per minute throughout the day.
Every two seconds, a young woman who previously had a chance for a better future and the opportunity to live is instead given away as a bride to some man.
When we discuss child marriage, it is natural to have the thought, “God, that’s terrible—I’m glad it doesn’t happen here.” This is a natural and understandable reaction.
Or does it?
According to Equality Now, the practice of marrying a kid under the age of 18 is LEGAL in 44 states. Only the states of Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island have made the minimum legal age for marriage 18 years old and have done away with any exceptions to this rule. There is no set age requirement for marriage in twenty of the states that make up the United States, provided that a parental or judicial waiver is obtained.
Between the years 2000 and 2018, there were around 300,000 children who were married in the United States. The vast majority of them were young women who had married grown men, many of whom were quite senior.
What would you do if you were in the most crowded place in the United States and saw a little girl, perhaps the same age as your own daughter, wearing a white wedding gown while being led about by a guy who was five times her age?
Cody Persin, a YouTube prankster, put the people of New York City to the test.
Cody takes shots of the “child bride” and her appallingly older “groom” while the social experiment is taking place in the middle of Times Square while posing as a wedding photographer for the only couple who seems to be at least somewhat happy with each other.
As dozens of people watch in disbelief, it doesn’t take long for many of them to approach the young girl and volunteer to speak up in place of her.
Others focus their attention solely on the elderly guy and harass him for the wrongdoing that he is committing, while others focus their questions of worry on the shy young girl who is trying to help.
Cody’s experiment was successful in the end.
It demonstrated that people in the United States would speak out against the practice of forcing a child into marriage because they believe it to be unethical. But despite the fact that his experiment shown that people are capable of reaching their highest potential, in twenty states in the United States, a marriage could still take place even if people spoke out in favor of the child.
Every single day, 33,000 young women are trafficked and sold into marriage in different parts of the world. After the fall of the Iranian government in 2021, we have no choice but to anticipate that number has greatly increased since then.
People in New York City were able to SEE the injustice that was taking on due to the fact that the 12-year-old bride was dressed in traditional bridal garb. On the other hand, these youngsters are not seen anywhere in the world. They are born into poverty and sold into poverty, and there is no white wedding gown that can bring attention to the generational cycle of injustice that they suffer every day of their lives.
Millions of girls are left without a voice, a childhood, or a chance.
Once upon a time, Albert Einstein made the observation that “the world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”
We have the ability to restore the joy and wonder of childhood to today’s youth.
Girls Not Brides is an international coalition of more than 800 organizations that are dedicated to putting an end to the practice of child marriage and providing girls with the tools and support they need to realize their full potential.
You can learn more about how you can contribute to the solution by reading the information that is provided on their website.
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