Child Marriages–Something which was very common in India before independence. Is the same prevalent now? According to the United Nations Organization, nearly 1.5 million girls in India and 12 million girls worldwide get married of each year before turning 18, which is the basic age formal age for marriage worldwide. But why are child marriages still conducted ?
Even after knowing that child marriages are illegal in India. There were many reasons for conducting child marriages in India, which included:
- Lack of Education
- Financial crisis
- Lack of knowledge regarding the laws and rights
- Gender inequalities and many more adding up.
In the past few decades, there was a decrease in the numbers. UNICEF in the years 2005-06 announced the child marriage rates in India to be 47% which was the highest. But later in the next ten years the rate decreased to 27% which was a reason to celebrate.
The reasons can be more exposure towards the social life and easy access to gain education. People have become broad minded and thought beyond the age-old practices.
But how much ever exposure has been gained or how individuals have thought broadly, there are some parts of people in the country who still believe in the practice of conducting child marriage.
And adding up to the existing reasons is the Pandemic because of Covid-19. Nearly 16% of the adolescent girls are getting married away within the age of 15-19 in India currently.
The pandemic has increased the existing problems prevalent in the lives of the people. Especially the ones living in the rural area. The financial problems have doubled up and they think marrying of the daughter at a young age is an ideal way to bring down responsibilities.
But they do not think about the after causes. The pandemic has surely led to poverty, which indirectly paves the way to child marriages.
A research foundation in India has stated that it received a high number of child marriage reports during the pandemic. When the research was done, the results stated that most of them were done because of the increasing unemployment, which results in a lack of stability to run the families and hence poverty.
Though the child marriages were started in an era where people lacked knowledge and did not have an exposure to the after effects which led to sexual abuse, domestic violence, unemployment, suicides, slavery, deaths during delivery, miscarriage and more now there should be a step taken against it.
What can you do to stand against a child marriage?
- First, you stand against conducting one by reporting if you find anyone performing a child’s marriage.
- Educate yourself and then spread a word about the causes and effects.
- Educate children and empower girls to educate themselves.
- Seek support and help. Use the government provided schemes and facilities if you find it difficult to run a family.
- Get an idea about the laws, regulations and the penalties.
In India, if you want to provide support and report or stop a child’s marriage but you also want to stay anonymous, you can reach out to child helpline number 1098 to seek help. It’s not even required to reveal your identity for safety purposes and you’ll surely find help.You can always reach out to the nearest Panchayat, Charity, and a Police Station as well.