Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Katy Migiro, Thomson Reuters Foundation

7/20/2014 (5 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Disregard for human life, particularly those of females, remains shocking issue

 In Ethiopia, girls are abducted on their way to school, raped and then married to their captors. In Ghana, they are married to traditional priests and become "slaves to the gods" to pay for their family's sins. In Cameroon, girls are promised in marriage to settle debts while still in the womb. "There are different forms of child marriage but all these different forms have one common point, which is the girl doesn't have a voice," Francoise Kpeglo Moudouthe, Africa officer for the advocacy group Girls Not Brides, told Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Girls Not Brides is campaigning for ending child marriage to be made one of the Sustainable Development Goals being drawn up to succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), which expire in 2015.

Girls Not Brides is campaigning for ending child marriage to be made one of the Sustainable Development Goals being drawn up to succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), which expire in 2015.

Highlights

By Katy Migiro, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/20/2014 (5 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Girls, young women, abduction, rape, slavery, developing nations


NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - "Her status in the community is so low that she doesn't even have a right to speak about this issue: if she wants to marry, when she wants to marry and who she wants to marry."

GIRLS AS COMMODITIES

On July 22, the Girl Summit in London will bring together governments, charities, activists and business to declare their intention to end child marriage in one generation.

Let's pray that many people will have a change of heart to do what's right --

Fifteen of the 20 countries with the highest rates of child marriage are in Africa, and 39 percent of the continent's girls are married before the age of 18.

Niger has the highest rate, with 75 percent of girls married before they are 18.

Moudouthe believes that the summit's ambitious goal of ending child marriage in a generation can be achieved.

"The most important thing is to change the way that girls are viewed. For me, that really is the underlying problem," she said. "Girls are not commodities. We cannot sell them into marriage. We cannot decide what to do with their bodies."

Child marriage is a tradition that is practised to preserve a girl's chastity, to strengthen ties between families and to cope, as a response to poverty. In many African countries, parents receive a bride price from the groom's family when their daughter marries, and are relieved of the burden of providing for her.

Engagement with the 70 million child brides around the world is critical to breaking the cycle.

"It's an inter-generational issue," Moudouthe said. "Girls who are forced into marriage, and are not made aware of the unfairness of the situation, are likely to have daughters who also become child brides."

In Ethiopia, Moudouthe met a 13-year-old girl breastfeeding her second baby. She had been married at the age of six or seven.

The teenage mother was attending a discussion club for child brides called Meserete Hiwot, meaning "base of life" in Amharic. The majority of mothers who attend have not completed primary school and benefit from learning about assertiveness, hygiene, financial literacy and reproductive health.

"It is so important because girls are confined in marriage. They are usually not allowed out of the house," said Moudouthe. "Not only do they learn about their rights but also how to handle the day to day challenges. How do you know when your child is sick and what can you do about it?"

STRATEGIES

Other strategies that experts say can help to end child marriage are supporting girls to remain in school, enforcing laws banning child marriage, teaching girls skills so that they can earn money for their families and educating communities about the negative impacts of the practice.

Girls Not Brides is campaigning for ending child marriage to be made one of the Sustainable Development Goals being drawn up to succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), which expire in 2015.

"When you look at the obstacles [to achieving the MDGs], child marriage is a common one in that it affects six of the eight MDGs," Moudouthe said.

The world cannot achieve universal primary education if girls drop out of school to get married. Nor can extreme poverty be eradicated when child marriage perpetuates poverty.

The third goal, gender equality, is directly challenged by child marriage.

Similarly, it is hard to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health when young girls get pregnant and give birth before their bodies are mature.

"The children of girls who had them below the age of 15 are 60 percent more likely to die within their first year," Moudouthe said. "And girls who are pregnant before the age of 15 are five times more likely to die or be injured during their pregnancy or childbirth [than older women]."

The sixth goal linked to child marriage is combating HIV/AIDS, which affects child brides more than unmarried sexually active teenagers.

"They are married to men who are very often much older and who have sexual experience already, and with whom they have very little capacity to negotiate for safe sexual practices," Moudouthe said.

---


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


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2014
Christmas, hope for humanity:
That the birth of the Redeemer may bring peace and hope to all people of good will.
Parents: That parents may be true evangelizers, passing on to their children the precious gift of faith.



Comments


More U.S.

The Pope, the Pets, the Paparazzi and the Propaganda Media

Image of Pope Francis pets a dog

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The passing on of this complete fabrication, as well as the embellishment which accompanied it, were not simply a matter of the secular press failing to comprehend this Pope. In fact, religious news sources, both Catholic and Protestant, jumped in. This all ... continue reading


A journey to the land of the free: Part One -- Beaten and scared young children flee violence and turn to the United States for hope Watch

Image of Many young immigrants have no more fight in them when they decide to cross the border, they're only trying to survive.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Blistered feet and filthy, blood-stained skin is the forlorn image of immigrants preparing to cross the border. With hopeful hearts and anxious minds, immigrants, of all ages, assemble to make the leap into their promise land. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Most ... continue reading


Pope Francis, the real architect behind the U.S.-Cuban thaw Watch

Image of With personal appeals, letters, and hosted meetings, the Vatican and Pope Francis can accurately be called the masterminds behind the recent thaw between the U.S. and Cuba.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The thaw in relations between the U.S. and Cuba took the world by surprise, but perhaps one man was not as shocked as the rest. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A senior official with the White House reported that Pope Francis made personal appeals to both President ... continue reading


Looking forward to your tax refund this year? Don't hold your breath. The IRS suffers after extreme budget cuts. Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Heavily stricken with budget cuts and new tax-related laws, the IRS considers implementing its own temporary shutdown. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Congress has recently cut the IRS budget by $346 million. The IRS' budget has been cut a total of $1 billion since ... continue reading


OBAMACARE DOES NOT WORK! Vermont gives up free healthcare plan as too expensive Watch

Image of Vermont's governor announced that a planned universal healthcare program for the state has been cancelled because the massive tax hikes would devastate the state's economy.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Peter Shumlin, the governor of Vermont, announced that he was canceling his longtime dream to create a single-payer health care system for his state. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The announcement came on December 17, citing problems with paying for the Green ... continue reading


The disgusting new fact of American life: More than 46 million Americans on food stamps for 37 straight month Watch

Image of Obama has been in office for about 70 months, and 37 of those months have seen the most amount of Americans on food stamps, ever!

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It is self-evident that President Obama continues to undermine the abilities of the lower class, enforcing government-reliance on those who can least afford it. The number of Americans on food stamps under Obama has continued along its record breaking path, as, ... continue reading


Faith in the United States' race relations hits a strikingly low point after no indictment verdicts Watch

Image of 57 percent of American's say race relations in the United States are bad, according to the latest NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Those are the words of Martin Luther King, Jr, a man who fought long and hard for a better today. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A land where discrimination no longer prevails is a reality that seems no ... continue reading


Why is he so upset? Because of the secret Republican time bomb in the government funding bill Watch

Image of The federal government has funding through the 2015 fiscal year, but Republicans will have many opportunities to fight the president's programs in that time.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Senate has approved a $1.1 trillion spending bill, aimed to fund nearly the whole of the federal government through the 2015 fiscal year, ending weeks of drama in Congress and relieving doubts that the government might be shut down again while Democrats and ... continue reading


You know about the 'Bishop of Bling' but do American clergy have the same problem too? Watch

Image of The Bishop of Bling was sacked after he spent $43 million renovating his home.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has called for "a Church which is poor and for the poor." However, not every member of the clergy may have read the memo. A number of high-ranking Church officials in the United States live in lavish homes, sometimes bordering on the scandalous. LOS ... continue reading


Water leak leads to discovery of 1795 time capsule - left by Paul Revere! Watch

Image of A worker holds the time capsule left by the revolutionaries.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Paul Revere, the fearless revolutionary who mounted his horse to declare that "The British are coming! The British are coming!" has left an enduring national legacy - in both deed and actions. Excitement is mounting with the discovery of a time capsule left by Revere ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Second Samuel 7:1-5, 8-11, 16
1 Once the king had settled into his palace and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 89:2-3, 4-5, 27, 29
2 for you have said: love is built to last for ever, ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 1:26-38
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by ... Read More

Reading 2, Romans 16:25-27
25 And now to him who can make you strong in ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 21st, 2014 Image

St. Peter Canisius
December 21: In 1565, the Vatican was looking for a secret agent. It was ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter