Some remote villages in India are still known to perform child marriage even to this date. Child marriage has always been linked to India and other developing countries. Little did we know that the country known for ruling India in the past has been dealing with the same issue to which light has been brought recently.
According to laws dating back to the first world war, 16-17 years old can register their marriage with parental consent. The legal age in Scotland is 16 with no parental consent required. As living together out of wedlock was not socially acceptable in Britain, it made 16 the minimum age for marriage. No reform has been made after that up until now.
Child marriage is child abuse, and many victims have come forward to narrate their stories of how their families forced them into marriages, mostly girls, with men who were sometimes even twice their age. How they had forced pregnancies and marital rape was committed to them as early as their first night into the marriage.
More than 2740 children under the age of 17 were married in England and Wales between 2008 and 2017, that’s what the official data says but we have to keep in mind that this form of marriage is called “back door marriage”, so one can only think.
Britain is part of campaigns ending several social abusive causes in various countries including child marriage. This loophole undermines its campaigns severely.
The government of the UK is set to consider a bill raising the minimum age for marriage to 18. It is all done in a bid to close this legal loophole that allows child marriage “by the back door”. The government is now committed to lifting the minimum age to 18. Many MPs said that the current law, which allows marriage at 16 with parental consent, sabotaged girls’ futures and condoned child abuse. The bill has cross-party support and will be cleared easily.
Former chancellor Sajid Javid told BBC radio before presenting the bill, “People think this is often something that just happens in developing countries. It doesn’t. It’s happening right here, it has to stop,” he said, adding that thousands of minors had been coerced into marriages in Britain in the last decade only.
Many campaigners believe and have said that it is crucial, not only to close the loophole but to make it a criminal offense to assist any underage marriage, including religious marriages and those conducted abroad. When it comes to this advice, the country should listen to it as campaigners include many people who were once underage and were forced to marry without their will. “Criminalisation is a strong deterrent and necessary to protect every child from all forms of child marriage in all settings,” said Ms. Mahmod, whose sister Banaz was killed by family members after leaving a husband they had chosen for her at 17.
This is just one of the thousands of examples as to how child marriage is abusive and why it is necessary to be criminalized. But to think of what Sajid Javid said brings some perspective as to how no country is perfect and loopholes can be found anywhere if we are not careful enough. So many people are of the same belief that how can something like this be possible in a developed nation such as Britain, many would have argued against it, whereas there would have been children who have had been facing the abuse since 1929 in that same country. What’s appreciable is the countries fast and steady approach to the matter with no oppositions. Closing of the loophole in immediate effect rather than debating or waiting out on it. But it brings out so many other questions in mind though-
Will it cater to the abuse already faced by thousands of children especially girls?
What about their choice and the number of years already lost from their lives?
What about those who lost their lives or of someone close to them?
I guess the age-old question remains,“ why does somebody have to pay for someone else’s fault?”
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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