Forced child marriage has seen itself become a plague that has grown into a widespread practice in many African countries, where young girls are often married off without their consent. This harmful tradition is deeply rooted in cultural, economic, and social factors of the Dark Continent.
Poverty, lack of education, and cultural beliefs that prioritizes marriage over education for the girl child are often cited as key drivers of child marriage within the African setting. The practice is illegal in many African countries, but enforcement of these laws is weak, and child marriage remains a pervasive issue.
Child marriage has serious consequences for the health, education, and overall well-being of young girls, a discussion the families of its victims would happily want to ignore judging from how it threatens whatever selfish interests that will be gotten out of it.
It often leads to early pregnancies, which can be dangerous and potentially life-threatening, and a higher risk of maternal and child mortality. Child brides are also more likely to experience domestic violence and face limited opportunities for education and economic empowerment.
Efforts as suggested by governmental campaigns are being made by governments, international organizations, and civil society groups to end the practice of child marriage in Africa. This includes increasing access to education and economic opportunities for girls, as well as changing cultural attitudes and beliefs through public education campaigns and community-based interventions.
These efforts must be sustained and strengthened to bring an end to this harmful practice and ensure that every child, especially girls, is able to reach their full potential.
However, a recent video that happened to find its way online, displayed a young child, probably below legal drinking age, on the ground and being whipped by some group of men for returning home from a forced marriage. This goes to show that whatever the government or Non-governmental organizations have been doing to fight this menace has barely scratched the surface.
The video reveals the setting of an African village, presumably, and shows the girl child, laid flat upon the ground by male members of her family while being ‘punished’ for returning to her maiden home from her marital life.
It isn’t so much as the girl being whipped in the video that should spark a narrative and quick action from well-meaning parties or authorities, but the idea that a young girl at that age would choose to return home from a forced marriage, and yet be met upon by a harsher fate from so-called relatives, that needs to call out on.
There is no doubt the amount of torture a girl of that age must have gone through in the so-called marriage to force a return back home that should be considered a crime by the family, rather than a sign of a helpless innocent child that needs attention.
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