Child marriage “is an evil worse than rape” and should be completely eradicated from society, said a Delhi court

Child marriages can (and do) lead to ‘sex with minors’ – with or without the minors’ consent.

And, sex with minors is legally acknowledged as rape except when the rapist is married to the rape victim.

So for the child who has been ‘married off’ to the person legally not-raping them but forcing them into sexual activity, the child marriage is truly worse than rape. Because here the rapist has the legal right to sexually assault the minor victim.

I know of two women who escaped such marriages (link) – and when I shared this with an acquaintance (who was worried about western influence on Indian culture) she said, “Oh but these things happen only to the poor and the uneducated.” (a factually unsupported statement)

So such things only happen to other people, who are not like us?

I wanted to tell her that ‘the poor and the uneducated’ are assured that early marriages prevent sexual crimes, and that sexual assaults happen only to ‘the Westernised’ in India, not to those how live in Bharat. 😦

But I am glad to hear this acknowledged.

Child marriage worse than rape, Delhi court says 

Link shared by Abhishek Oza

Child marriage “is an evil worse than rape” and should be completely eradicated from society, said a Delhi court while ordering registration of a case against a girl’s parents for getting her married at a tender age.

….

“There are serious outcomes of child marriage. It is the worst form of domestic violence against the child, not only by the respondents (husband and his family) but also by her own parents.

….

“Child brides have a diminished chance of completing their education and are at a higher risk of being physically abused, contracting HIV and other diseases, and dying while pregnant or giving birth,” the magistrate observed, adding that luckily this girl was “healthy”.

And here is an effort that can help children stay in school and schooling makes it easier for parents to avoid child marriages.

Related Posts:

When life ends at twelve.

“In my own company in a cosmopolitan city, I know women who were horrified on the First Night.”

Pregnant at fifteen? No moral issues. Unmarried and pregnant at fifteen. Degeneration of society.

Teenage Pregnancies – not our culture…

Forced intercourse in marriage not rape: Delhi court

What is that one thing that can change an Indian girl child’s life?

Who will benefit from criminalising sexual assaults within marriages?

‘Bill seeks to let 12-yr-olds have non-penetrative sex’. Does it really?

 

 

 

What is that one thing that can change an Indian girl child’s life?

I think that one thing is her parents seeing her as their child and not as her future in laws’s daughter-in-law (Paraya Dhan).

Everything changes when a paraya dhan becomes her parents’ child. Her happiness, her future, her comfort, her health, her safety… and eventually her rights and  freedoms also become important enough to fight for.

Once the family values her, so will the society.

Do you agree?

But how do the parents begin to do that?

By realising that Getting Married and Staying Married need not be the only way for a girl child to ‘settle down’.

And what’s the first step for that to happen?

Education ofcourse.

Which is why I am supporting #​Selfies4School by Breakthrough.

Nation Against Early Marriage

What happens when a girl child goes to school?

1. The girl child gets to be a child that she is. She gets a break from housework and taking care of younger siblings. The school might also provide nutrition and opportunities for physical activities.

2. Makes it possible for a girl child to begin to see that there is more to her life than Getting Married and Staying Married.

3. Schooling also makes it possible/easier for her parents to delay a girl child’s marriage.

One huge plus in all this is that most Indians value Education and Success.

#Selfies4School

According to a UNICEF report, India has 47% of the world’s child brides – although we have festivals where we ‘worship’ girl children. 🙄

‘Breakthrough is hoping that #Selfies4School will help ignite conversations in the drawing rooms of professionals and the educated classes.’

Igniting conversations is a powerful step in the right direction I think, because without conversation there is Silence.

How do you like the campaign mascot – Uma with her dupatta flying like a cape 😀

Uma Selfies4School

Take a look at this video – in Hindi.

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“See – UNICEF has figured it out. It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out.”

Teenage Pregnancies – not our culture…

His sister is 26 and has two kids, the older one is 8! Another sister, around 18 is also married.

The life and times of another Indian Homemaker.

19 Rape Facts that Khaps, Cops and Chautala should know.

When life ends at twelve.

So how did you go to school?

Teenage Pregnancies – not our culture…

Link received by email.

“There were 71 pregnancies per 1,000 U.S. girls aged 15-19. In 2006, 7 percent of all teenage girls got pregnant…”

Teen pregnancies are often quoted as an example of the degeneration of the US or the Western culture. Are teen pregnancies unheard of India?

I don’t think so. The difference is that most teen mothers in India have no choice or control over their pregnancy or their bodies. A lot of them are undernourished and are under pressure to give birth to male children.

“According to official figures, over 68% girls in the state (Rajasthan) are married by the age of 18.”  (And the Rajasthan government wants to register child marriages, making it tougher for the couple to get out of these marriages. They should be helping them make informed choices!).

A college friend’s mother once told us how she slept through her marriage ceremony, she was too young to stay awake. But she was not from Rajasthan, she was from Tamil Nadu.

My new maid says her 17 year old daughter in law has grown up to be taller than her son, they had not expected this when they married them in their mid-teens, but it doesn’t bother them, there are many such couples in their village, near Lucknow, in UP.

Another 25 year old domestic helper in Pune had three kids, 9, 7 and 5. She said was born the year Ms Gandhi died in 1984, so how old was she when her first child was born?

I have blogged about another domestic helper, married at 12, to a 20 year old unemployed man (Maharashtra). She supports three kids and an alcoholic, sick but violent husband. She asks her mother now, if she and sisters were really so much trouble that the mother had to get rid of them so cruelly.

Yet another one in Punjab was married as a kid to a much older, abusive man but she escaped, came back home and refused to go back.(I blogged about her, here)

Each of these women are unhappily married. They were pregnant in their teens. They live with verbal and physical abuse. Many of them are working more than they should, each of them is underweight (none more than 40 kgs) and most of them are earning.

Compare this to teenage pregnancies in the US. The girls are not necessarily married. They are unlikely to be forced to get married.

They can choose to have the baby or abort the baby – their health will be a huge consideration here, and a priority.

Despite the disapproval, they need not kill themselves to save their families’ honour.

They can continue to meet new men, maybe marry, maybe work, maybe live on their own, maybe live with their parents.

Their culture doesn’t like teenage pregnancies either, but it doesn’t abandon or ostracise one of the two responsible for these pregnancies.

So why do we think, are the teenage pregnancies in the west bad, and teenage pregnancies in our country fine?

Is this because these teen mothers are married? Does that really benefit the mother or the child? Perhaps the mother  has a father’s name to give to the child? (Can’t think how else it could be better for the mother or the child since they seem to have very little emotional or financial support). I would say the mother’s name is (and should be, specially in such cases) enough for the child. Mahabharat supports this. E.g.Kaunteya/ Kunti-Putra. Where ever the law doesn’t support the mothers, it should. Neena Gupta and Sushmita Sen are both single mothers and doing fine.

Secondly even if we ignore that most Indian teenage mothers are undernourished and miserable, what kind of life are these married (with parental approval) teenage mothers likely to give to their children? They have little  say in the children’s lives. I would say Juno made a much better and far more confident teenage mother.

And most importantly it’s the mother’s body and her choice. In India she has no rights over it. Just like she has no rights over anything else in her life. Or even a right to her own life.  How can a culture claim to respect women and mothers when it forces them to abandon helpless babies in garbage heaps simply because they are not married to the father!

Or else they can always take their own lives to prove their respect for a culture that doesn’t respect or value them.

Edited to add:

Link to this post was shared by ‘The Wall Street Journal’ here.

Link shared here, http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/marie-staunton/mothers-day-a-30yearold-g_b_1353850.html