Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

7/22/2014 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (

Attitudes must change: Girls and young women must be repected as persons not property

It's a national shame for Southeast Asia's economic powerhouse: One in all three forced child marriages in the world is in India. It's a regional shame as well, as a new UNICEF study has proved almost half of all child marriages are in South Asia.

In rural Indian villages, there are very real concerns about the safety of girls. If a girl is married off early, the strained logic is that her husband can protect her. She is treated as property.

In rural Indian villages, there are very real concerns about the safety of girls. If a girl is married off early, the strained logic is that her husband can protect her. She is treated as property.


By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (

7/22/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: India, South Asia, child brides, economic development

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - South Asia accounts for 42 percent of the child marriage cases worldwide, according to a new UNICEF report released this week.

It's estimated that 700 million girls across the globe have been married off before reaching age 18. More than one third were wed before the age of 15, according to the report.

Live Catholic, Shop Catholic -- go here:

Entitled "Child Marriage: Progress and Prospects," more underage girls are married off than boys. The practice is most common in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

The report found that Bangladesh has the highest rate of marriage involving girls under age 15. The report also discovered that girls from impoverished families and rural areas are 2.5 times more likely to marry in childhood than those living in the wealthiest sector.

"Child marriage should be seen as a social evil embedded in some cultures, and coupled with a lack of education and social approval, it becomes very hard to fight it in the villages of India," Johny Mathew, a member of the Juvenile Justice Board of India's Karnataka state says.

At the root of the problem is a complete disrespect for the dignity of human persons and a special disrespect for girls and women. Dora Giusti, a UNICEF official researching child marriage in India, opined that the issue has "a lot do with understanding of culture, gender roles and education." Giusti adds that in traditional Indian society, girls are seen only as future mothers and wives.

In rural Indian villages, there are very real concerns about the safety of girls. If a girl is married off early, the logic is that her husband can protect her. This also blocks the possibility of a girl bringing dishonor to her family by selecting her own undesirable partner, Giusti explains. Both realities reveal a culture which has failed to recognize the dignity of every human life and the fundamental right to freedom in choosing a marriage partner.

India passed a law in 2006 banning child marriages but "implementation of it is too weak" because of social pressure, said Giusti. Child marriages are rarely reported to local authorities because of society's acceptance of the practice and because few people see it as breaking of a law.

The Indian government says it has taken significant steps to end child marriage. "One of the notable initiatives taken by India towards protection of children including the girl child has been the establishment of a National Commission for Protection of Child Rights in 2007 for proper enforcement of children's rights," a Ministry of Women and Child Development official, speaking on the condition of anonymity said.

A national strategy on child marriage prevention focusing on law enforcement, access to quality education and other opportunities for empowerment of adolescents was established in 2012, he added. Yet other politicians agree that laws and policies alone are not enough.

"The problem is related to poverty," Samajwadi Party parliamentarian, Dharmendra Yadav says. Poverty leads to a lack of education, and poor uneducated families simply want to avoid huge dowries by giving away their daughters in marriage at an early age, he said.

Some have suggested that it would be beneficial to establish "economic activities for girls so that they can stay away from early marriage."


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for SEPTEMBER 2016
Centrality of the Human Person: That each may contribute to the common good and to the building of a society that places the human person at the center.
Evangelization: Mission to Evangelize: That by participating in the Sacraments and meditating on Scripture, Christians may become more aware of their mission to evangelize.


More Asia Pacific

Famed British explorer headed to high Buhtan to find the Yeti Watch

Image of Is the Yeti a long-surviving example Gigantopithecus?

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A British explorer and skeptic is visiting high Bhutan in search of the Yeti, a creature that many locals say exists. Alistair Humphreys does not believe in the Yeti, but he thinks he may be able to uncover evidence that it is another, misidentified creature. He is ... continue reading

Philippine police van rams anti-US protesters then REVERSES to hit them AGAIN Watch

Image of Anti-US protestors were struck with a police van, which then backed up over the crowd to hit them again.


Anti-U.S. protesters outside the U.S. embassy in Manilla, Philippines, demanded American troops leave their country. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Several protesters took to Twitter to share their version of events.Many posted the graphic video of a Philippine ... continue reading

If America wants to maintain alliance with Philippines, it will have to use a secret weapon: RESPECT Watch

Image of President Duterte met with the Chinese ambassador to the Philippines in September.


As Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte meets with the Chinese, Americans are worried about the future of the alliance between them and the Philippines. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - President Duterte is meeting with Chinese officials to discuss cooperation in ... continue reading

WATCH NOW Jungle Giant or optical illusion? 'Bigfoot' footage reveals colossal creature in Indonesia Watch

Image of Was Bigfoot sighted in Indonesia (YouTube)?


We've all heard the tales and seen the blurry footage but a new video claims to have captured evidence of the ever-elusive mythic creature: Bigfoot. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - For years the legendary creature is said to have resided in North America, is ... continue reading

Thank you St. Philomena! - Miracle baby survives 14 stab wounds and being buried alive Watch

Image of The 7-month-old was discovered in a shallow grave (SWNS).


St. Philomena was certainly watching over baby Aiden, who was left to die alone in a shallow grave in Thailand. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Little Aidin was stabbed fourteen times then abandoned in a shallow grave, where cattle herder Kachit Krongyut was ... continue reading

You won't believe what President Duterte is doing now - How will the Philippines accept this change? Watch

Image of Marlboro country no more, public smoking to be banned in the Philippines.


Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte is about to ban smoking in all public places, including e-cigs. The ban has long been advocated by public health agencies in the Philippines. A similar ban was in place in Davao City where Duterte was mayor before becoming ... continue reading

Duterte orders US troops to leave - Is the 65-year-agreement at an end? Watch

Image of Duterte has made amazing strides in the war on drugs.


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has put an end to the 65-year joint military contract with the US. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Over the weekend, Duterte informed the US the Philippines would no longer participate in joint patrols in the South China Sea.The ... continue reading

WATCH NOW Woman's soul rises from her body in ASTONISHING footage Watch

Image of CCTV footage revealed the ghost of a woman fatally injured in an accident (Sutannaraj/YouTube).


CCTV footage recording a busy road captured the moment a woman's soul leaped from her body following a fatal accident. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The video was posted to <a href="">YouTube</a> September 17 ... continue reading

'I apologize profoundly' - Philippine President releases worldwide apology Watch

Image of Rodrigo Duterte apologizes to Jews in worldwide statement.


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte made a worldwide statement Sunday morning to the entire Jewish community. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - After comparing the Philippines' anti-drug war to Hitler and the Holocaust."If Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would ... continue reading

President Duterte is fighting a war, we need to show some respect to the people of the Philippines Watch

Image of President Duterte is fighting a war. It is between him, his people and God, how the war should be fought. Nobody else has the right to criticize. What would any good president order if his country were invaded?


Imagine you are the leader responsible for millions or people. Now imagine an invading army has attacked your country and is now slaughtering your people, targeting young and vulnerable people. What would you do as president? How far would you go to protect your ... continue reading

All Asia Pacific News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 4:7-16
7 On each one of us God's favour has been bestowed in whatever way Christ ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5
1 [Song of Ascents Of David] I rejoiced that they said to me, 'Let us go ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 13:1-9
1 It was just about this time that some people arrived and told him about ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 22nd, 2016 Image

St. Pope John Paul II
October 22: Karol J. Wojtyla, known as John Paul II since his ... Read More