5-Year-Old Girl Forced Into Marriage Should Be the Last

lost shoeAsk any 5-year-old girl what her life is all about, and she'll probably tell you it's kindergarten, princesses, soccer practice, Word Girl, Mommy, and Daddy. One thing that is definitely not part of an average 5-year-old girl's life: Marriage.

But for at least one 5-year-old girl, forced marriage was a terrifying reality. The UK's Forced Marriage Unit found her last year and helped her escape her marriage. That's the good news. The bad news? She's not the only one.

After a year-long investigation, the Forced Marriage Unit uncovered some 400 forced marriages among families throughout England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. And the scariest thing they discovered was that 29 percent of the marriages involved minors -- girls as young as 5 years old!

These girls are typically taken abroad for the marriages, usually to complete strangers. To be fair, when very young children are married, the families usually wait a few years before that marriage is consummated. So that's some consolation -- a pitiful amount of consolation.

The Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation wants it to be a crime to force your child to marry. They're hoping a new anti-forced marriage law will empower girls to stand up to their parents and get help. But will it? One victim of a forced marriage is worried that if it's made a crime, girls will be reluctant to testify against their parents.

I can see both sides. But no matter how culturally sensitive I want to be, I'm simply not okay with the idea of forcing children into marriage. It's a practice that often involves kidnapping, beatings, and rape. Maybe this was a practice that made sense for families hundreds of years ago, but in this world, a girl's life should be so much bigger than that.

Do you think it would help or hurt potential victims to make forced marriage a crime?


Image via daphneann/Flickr

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Tina Nadeau

How do u post a SCREAM of indignation? Oh those poor babies.Not like females don't have enough to go thru with the backwards thinking of men,but than to be put thru something as Degrading as this.My heart goes out to all of them. Just wishing I could hang all those who support this,by their toes and then bleed them out like a deer.

Jennifer Mason-Bryant

Its a 5 year old. Shes a baby! That makes her "husband" a pedophile! Do us all a favor and kill these men and the parents that think its ok!

Hardknox Myers

i think that should be on the same list as child molesting...its creepy and in human...discusting parents and men who want to marry little girls..im sorry,but anyone who approves of this should be stabbed and left for dead

Alice Darline Garman

it should be outlawed. No girl or lady should be force't into marriage or anything for that matter. something should of been done along time ago...

nonmember avatar claudia

Any man who would want to get get married to a baby that is 5 years old should be put to death so should the F-kin parents what the hell are they thinking right now they may escape mans law but not for long when god will judge them for the disgusting things they are doing :(

nonmember avatar Darlene

I think this blogger needs to make the distinction between British/English citizens and the immigrant population.

mom1kid mom1kid

sex with minors sould be a crime punished by death

Essie Lewis

It is impossible to fight in grain culture that people from other countries have lived with for thousands of years.  If a child is forced into marriage while living in England or the U.S. (or any other civilized country) that is a crime and the authorities should try to stop it.  If that same crime occures in that person's home country, it is not our business.  Leave your self-rightous angry at the border. This is not your fight.

Danielle Miller White

@ Jespren, I have to disagree with you. Even our own laws (US) aren't capable of stopping this practice. There are any number of cases, right here at home, of babies being forced to marry.
Many cultures, throughout the world, continue the practice of arranged marriage. These children will rarely defy their parents. They remain quiet despite the misery they incur.
In most cases, the marriage is not an attempt to better the girl life but, to profit the parents. Generally, a handsome dowry is paid before the marriage takes place.
The primary offenders in the US are the Travelers. They are, more easily associated with Gypsy clans, Nomads. The events in which the girls are paraded for potential husbands to choose a bride are very secretive. The marriage ceremonies are preformed by clan clergy and never spoken of outside the clan. These girls would be shunned if they refuse to accept their parents arrangements. They rarely choose otherwise.
It's a sad painful thing when any child is forced into these travesties.
The US laws are inadequate. We have nothing that would allow prosecution once the children are living with their husbands and have been forced to consummate the marriage.
I agree with the laws proposed in the UK and would like to see them in place in the US as well.
Also, it makes me want to barf too.

Trish... Trish0023

I think that the men that would marry such a young girl are horrible nasty beasts that need to be put out of their misery

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