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.


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.

Related Posts:

“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?

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

Freebird shared this in an email.

UNICEF report quote on quote:

Why child marriage is rampant in India (the report shows everything which is wrong with our patriarchal system and law enforcement in one go along with highlighting all other causes of gender bias):

//Unmarried girls are considered a liability to family honour. Child marriage is a way to ensure chastity and virginity of the bride, thus avoiding potentially dishonouring of the family.

Dowry perpetuates child marriage as it encourages parents to marry off their girls early to avoid an increase in the dowry amount (more educated girls usually require a higher dowry). Although giving or receiving dowry is a crime under the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, it is still a common practice.

Girls are considered an economic burden for their family of origin and a “paraya dhan” or property that belongs to the marital family. Hence, the tendency is to marry girls as early as possible and reduce investment in their daughters.

Investing in girls‟ education is not considered worthy as girls will be moving to the groom‟s household and will be employed in household chores. On the other hand, the limited education and livelihood options for girls lead to marriage being one of the few options for girls‟ future.

With the aim of reducing the costs of wedding ceremonies parents often marry off their children early seizing the opportunity of collective/community marriage ceremonies, marrying off all girls/daughters in one ceremony when there are multiple daughters in a family, and coupling a wedding with other celebrations – such as funerals – held in the community.

Impunity, weak law enforcement and limited knowledge of the law by society perpetuate child marriage.

Attendance of child marriages by local politicians and government officials contradicts their role as duty bearers against child marriage.
Skewed sex ratio in some states has led to trafficking of girls in the name of marriage.//

See – UNICEF has figured it out. It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out. A little honest observation and thinking would suffice. And what’re the obvious measures to solve the problem?

And some more:

//almost 22% women in India, who are now aged between 20 and 24 years gave birth to a child before they turned 18.//

And I didn’t know where I should bang my head after reading the first few comments on that article:

//It will be very interesting to know that at least these mothers are married. It will also be interesting to know how many mothers in the US are in their teens and not even married.//

This was published in 2012. Are people really blind or they don’t want to see?

Related Posts:

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.

Khaps and Chautala claim that rapes can be prevented by child marriages. [Link]

What do Chautala and Khaps think rape is?

I am realizing that at least some Indians believe any sex outside marriage is Rape, (even if both the partners are willing and above the age of consent) and sex within marriage can never be rape  – even if it is forced/coerced.

In Tehelka sting operation an NCR cop complained about women,“They’ll drink and also have sex with you. But the day someone uses force, it’s rape”   His words –

Daru bhi peeti hai aur aap ke saath sex bhi karti hai… Jis din koi thok dega rape ho jayega‘. [Tehelka link]

Fact 1: When one of the partners is not saying Yes, it is not consent. Sex without consent is Rape. Another post on the legal definition.

Some more facts.

The Hisar gangrape – Sept 9

A Class 12 student was kidnapped, blindfolded, gagged and  gang raped, while she was on her way to her grandmother’s place. The rape was filmed on cellphone. The MMS was doing the rounds.

The teen has told the police that of the 12 men who raped her, eight were upper-caste Jats. They all live in or near her village, she says she can identify them all, but only two men have been arrested so far.

11 days later her father committed suicide.

Link, Another link.

Fact 3: If it wasn’t for media and the changing attitudes towards rapes, this rape would not have been reported.

And some questions: Do you think this is one rare case of its kind or are such rapes common? What did we do to make rapists so fearless?

The Jind gangrape – Sept 21

The accused barged into the (married) woman’s house looking for her husband and when they did not find him, they brutally raped her …Her daughter stood outside the house screaming in fright. The victim said that the men made a video of the whole gruesome act and threatened to make it public if she reported the matter to the police.  Link1, Link2

Fact 4 : The victim could not be blackmailed with a video in which criminals are committing a crime. This must feel like the end of the good old days (sarcasm) to rapists.

Fact 5 : When shame can’t be used to exploit women, we would see rapists being shamed. (And, blamed, convicted, punished and condemned)

Sonepat –Sept 28

The abduction and alleged gang rape of a newly-married woman in Sonipat’s Gohana. Link


Fact 6: Marriage does not prevent rapes. Fact 7: Forced sex is rape even when the victim is not a  virgin.

Sonepat  Sept 28

A class XI student, had gone to buy grocery from a shop when the main accused, Amit alias Kali, sent her to the adjoining godown to pick up certain items. The girl was trapped inside the godown and was raped by the four.

They overpowered the girl and raped her. They threatened her not to complain to the police. [Link]

Fact 8: The victim knew (and could identify) the rapists. Fact 9: The rapists clearly did not expect her to report. They were probably banking on Khap-style shame and honor, and expected the girl to take her own life, or be blackmailed by them.

Bhiwani – Oct 1

A 14-year-old girl was allegedly kidnapped and raped in a moving jeep near Sandwa village… The incident occurred at 7.15 pm… when the girl, a student of class 8, was on her way home. Police have rounded up two accused who claim to be known to the victim.

After committing the crime, the men returned to the village to pick up an accomplice. The girl hit one of the accused who was drunk. He fell off the jeep and she managed to escape in the confusion. [Link]

Fact 10: The girl managed to hit one of the accused. She showed presence of mind and immense courage. And she is just 14.

Instead of suggesting semi-forced and arranged child marriages, Chautala should have suggested a bravery award, free counseling and support – to encourage other rape victims to feel confident about dealing with rapists and reporting rapes.

Yamunanagar, Bhadeli village – Oct 2

The 16-year-old girl, who belongs to a weaker section of society, was allegedly raped by a youth known to her… The youth took her in his car … and on the way one more person joined him. Link, Link.

Fact 11 :  In 90% of rape cases the crime is pre-planned and the rapist is known to the victim.

Fact 12 : What would help is the fear of the victim refusing to be silenced with shame. And being taken seriously.

Jind district, Berlakha village. Oct 3

Human trafficker Dhanwa raped a 28-year-old woman…   The woman’s in-laws had allegedly roped in Dhanwa to sell her and she was raped as her sister-in-law sent her to the village on the pretext of meeting a relative. Villagers working in the nearby fields thrashed Dhanwa before handing him over to the police after driver Gurtej Singh spotted them and raised an alarm.  Link

Fact: Marriage does not prevent rapes. Rapists are rarely absolute strangers.

Fact: Cultures that support Rapists enable rape being used for silencing, blackmailing and exploiting   rape-victims.

 Rohtak – Oct 3

A 15-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly lured by three women relatives in Kachchi Garhi Mohalla colony of Rohtak and then raped by a youth last evening, police said. The girl was called out of her house by the accused women and was taken to an abandoned house by car on the Hisar road on the outskirts of the village where she was raped. Police have registered a case against five persons, including the three relatives of the victim and also arrested the key accused.

Fact 13 : Rape is a crime of hate and aggression, frequently used to cause hurt. Fact 14 :
Cultures that support rapists facilitate such crimes.

Rohtak – Oct 3

A minor, mentally-challenged Dalit girl was allegedly raped… The 15-year-old was allegedly lured by three women relatives in Kachchi Garhi Mohalla colony of Rohtak and then raped by a man in an abandoned house. Link

Fact 14: When we make excuses for rapists we make them shameless and inhuman. Fact: Rapists in rape cultures are encourages to believe that they are entitled to sex, and that it’s natural to rape someone if they want to have sex.

Panipat. Oct 3

A 12-year-old girl from Panipat was abducted and allegedly raped on by a distant cousin, 25.  [link]

City police station SHO Vishal Kumar said the medical examination report has been sent to forensic science laboratory in Karnal for further analysis as the department wants to be doubly sure before taking any action. [Link]

Fact: In 90% of rape cases the rapist is known to the victim.

Jind/Rohtak/Sonipat – Oct 4

A 13-year-old girl was raped by 45 year old neighbour: Police sources said 42-year-old Prakash Saini, who works at a sweet shop, barged into the teenaged schoolgirl’s house and allegedly raped her while her parents were away. Saini fled after the girl’s paternal aunt saw him raping the girl and raised an alarm.  [Link]

Fact: If the aunt had not witnessed the crime, he would have attempted to use shame and fear to silence the victim,. Our culture of blaming and shaming the victims promotes such crimes.

Fact 15: It’s a myth that locking women inside homes prevents sexual crimes. Women having a voice can help control sexual crimes.

Jind Gang rape and victim’s suicide. Oct 7 

…the victim in her statement to the police said that one of her neighbours Pradeep allegedly dragged her into his house while the sister-in-law of the accused kept guard standing on the terrace of the house so that nobody could come inside. Pradeep and another youth Naveen raped the teenager.

[Link] [Link]

Fact: Rapists (specially in rape cultures like ours) unlike most other violent criminals, can rely on the chances of the victim either committing suicide or being shamed into silence.

 Palwal: Oct 8

The horror of rape continues unabated in Haryana. A woman was allegedly raped in Mathepur village in Palwal, when she went to the fields to collect fodder. The accused ran away as the victim shouted for help. [Link]

Fact: In Rape culture rapists have no real fear of punishment.

Faridabad: Oct 10

A 20-year-old domestic maid has alleged rape by her employer, a scrap dealer. [Link]

Fact: Alleged rapists known to the victim.

Ambala – A widow was raped by her acquaintance’

According to a complaint lodged by the 30-year-old victim, Rajinder, who is an acquaintance of her late husband, brought her to Ambala on the pretext of showing her some plot, where he offered her juice laced with sedatives, they said.

After she became unconscious, the accused raped her and filmed the crime and even threatened her with dire consequences if she informed anyone about the incident. [Link]

Fact 16: Rapists look like normal people. 90% rapes are preplanned. Fact 17 :
Women do not have magical sixth sense that lets them read minds of criminals (Women are human). Indian rapists feel safe enough to rely on threatening, shaming, blackmailing and silencing the victim.

A five-month pregnant married Dalit woman – Oct 11

1.  Haryana woman alleges gang rape, cops deny claim

The Kaithal police arrested two youth on Tuesday evening for allegedly gang raping a 19-year-old married woman at Kalayat town, near Kaithal. However, the district police claim that the circumstantial evidences and investigations rule out the possibility of a gang rape and that she had illicit relations with both accused since long. [Link]

2.  The victim was medically examined Tuesday and rape was confirmed. [link] [Another link]

Pregnant Dalit woman raped in Haryana- The Hindu

Fact 18: The police in India urgently needs to have clear instructions about what to do when somebody approaches them alleging a sexual assault.

Fact 19 : Citizens should know if the police are allowed to refuse to investigate, judge, blame, name, shame, rape or make statements to the media that they (the police) are not held accountable for?

  Yamunanagar. Oct 11

A 14-year-old girl was allegedly raped. As Yamunanagar district borders Himachal Pradesh’s Sirmaur district with the victim raped being raped near the border, a dispute over territorial jurisdiction between the police departments of the two states delayed the registration of the case against the accused. link

Fact: This is not unheard of. Citizens and police should both know what their rights are in such situations.

Posts related to lack of awareness of above mentioned facts:

The rapists often don’t see their actions as crimes, the police said, and don’t expect the victims to report them.

Why was this radio cabbie, a rapist, not afraid of being arrested?

Five rapists in Patna want to marry gangrape victim.

This is what rapists do when there is no fear of punishment.

Rapist said that coming from Afghanistan meant he didn’t understand what ‘consent’ was.

Mommy Guilt: A Western Influence.

Our grandmothers didn’t suffer from Mommy Guilt. These liberal ideas about children’s rights and child psychology are not a part of our ancient history.

Our grand dads had no such complexes either. In my dad’s time it was perfectly normal to beat children and lock them up in dark rooms without dinner.  Mothers beat them too, sometimes simply because they needed to vent.

Parenting was about sacrifices then – give birth, keep nine months in the womb, feed mother’s milk, plan their future, always want the best for them.

In return they wanted only that you do as you were told.

The guilt belonged to the child not the parents.

Ours is the land of Sravan Kumar. And Dashratha. And Ram who exiled his unborn twins.  Not to mention Bhishma, who swore celibacy to repay his father’s sacrifices.

Raja Harishchandra sold his son as a slave, a teenaged Kunti was given the responsibility of taking care of Durvasa known for his temper. No over protection in those days.

In more recent times Rani Laxmibai was married at 9, to a 45 year old King. Childhood didn’t matter then.

We sent child widows to vidhva ashrams. We gave girl children up as devdasis.

These were the norms then. Parenting was easier before Mommy-Guilt.  Even in the west.

One of my maids told me her mother had sent her away to be adopted by a couple who agreed to pay for her – but she cried so much she had to be brought back. Who felt guilty? The inconvenient child.

We haven’t changed much, but now modern ideas of child rights, control our expectations from our children. Like one hears, “If it goes on like this, we will find children calling 911 every time we raise our hands on them.”

Before Mommy-Guilt mothers left babies in cradles hanging from a tree and worked in fields, fetched water etc – if the baby cried an older sibling took care (still does). Children worked in the fields too. Babies fell in wells and ponds. (still do). Richer babies had nannies and nurse maids while mothers took care of whatever was their priority. No momma-guilt.

Then women became westernized, started earning and becoming selfish. Children started being neglected. Mothers (and fathers also) started wondering if they were doing the right thing. And thus was born, Mommy Guilt!

It isn’t such a bad thing though… read all about it here 🙂

Because I say so?

Surbhi shared this link in a comment on ‘I don’t understand unquestioning faith‘.

I have no idea how many parents take this sort of advice seriously.

Why child marriage?

… before her mind is distributed by thoughts of love and desire …. The innocent child that she is now,  …(her husband) alone is her guru (teacher) and that he alone is her Isvara.(god)

In childhood a girl does not ask questions... out of her simple faith.. This faith, formed in her innocence, will take firm root in her mind when she becomes older and begins to understand things… and she will always look upon him as Paramesvara. (god)

Maybe  we should change the title to ‘Why not child marriage’ and gift the link to all parents.

These two news articles in the TOI this morning made me wonder why all religions seem to favour those who have written/interpreted the rules. For example, Hinduism favours the upper caste male, most other religions seem to favour men who interpret the rules.

Saudi court lets bride, 12 divorce-80-yr old Hubby

According to local reports, the girl was married to her father’s cousin last year against her wishes and those of her mother. The marriage was sealed with a dowry of 85,000 riyals and consummated.

The case had sparked debate in Saudi Arabia, with some judges and clerics using Prophet Muhammad’s marriage to a nine-year-old girl as justification of child marriage. [Link]

Those who can’t marry little children, find other ways to abuse them.

US sex abuse victim to sue Pope

They were deaf, but they were not silent. For decades, a group of men who were sexually abused as children by the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy at a school for the deaf in Wisconsin reported to every type of official they could think of that he was a danger, according to the victims and church documents.

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,

When life ends at twelve.

(Yemen) …”a 12-year-old girl died in childbirth after an agonizing 3-day labor.  …young Fawziya was pulled out of school and married to a man twice her age.

She isn’t the only one.

The issue of Yemeni child brides came to the forefront last year, with 8-year-old Nujood Ali who “was pulled out of school and married to a man who beat and raped her within weeks of the ceremony.

To escape, Nujood hailed a taxi — the first time in her life — to get across town to the central courthouse where she sat on a bench and demanded to see a judge.”  [Full story]

Yemen is full of child brides. Roughly half of Yemeni girls are married before 18, some as young as eight. Child marriage, common in South Asia, sub- Saharan Africa and Middle-Eastern countries such as Yemen, is dangerous for brides and their children…”

India is not too different. I have met a few, all unhappy.  One of my maids once confessed that she had a daughter who she had left in her village near Ferozpur. She was devoted to her son, dropped him to a ‘private school’ everyday and bought Bournvita for him. Didn’t she worry about how her other child was doing?

She said her husband hated the girl and she felt the child was safer with her maternal grandmother. When I conveyed my disapproval, she confessed that the daughter was from an earlier marriage to an older man, and although her husband had promised to take care of her, he treated her cruelly.

When she was 12 her family had married her to a 40-year old widower. He raped her and beat her. She escaped and came back to her village. She told her family she would hang herself if they tried to send her back. She was pregnant with that daughter at the time. She never went back and was married again when she was older.

Her daughter was more like a sister to her, she thought of her grandmother as her mother.

Not all girls escape or die, many stay married and live to have many children (healthy or unhealthy) over whom they have no rights. Women in such marriages are another generation, and much younger, and since our society associates wisdom with age, the husband’s word is the last word in all important matters. Dead or alive, they have no life.