Type: Process Essays
Sample donated: Brendan Fleming
Last updated: September 29, 2019
Four years ago when I met my current fiancee, I was anxious and worried about my and herparents’ opinion about early marriage.
It is true that I didn’t have a lot of experience or enoughinformation about it in order to judge whether early marriage would be a good idea or not bymyself. Despite the fact that I was sure I wanted no one but this girl to continue my life with, Ihad to consult her about the subject. In fact, she was hesitant about it at first, and finallyaffirmed she’d preferably wait until the age of eighteen. Rethinking the subject, I finallyagrfed, considering that eighteen is the age of full maturity for most people, and that by thisage, she’d be willing to take responsibility for all of her choices, choices that she’d fully beconvinced with. As I looked at her, I couldn’t imagine refusing any choice she’d take, andwouidn’t want her to have any regrets because of an immature decision. The country wherewe live, Lebanon, was clearly not an issue in both cases since marriage at practically any agewas legal, and neither were my parents who shockingly agreed to support any decision I’d takeas long as she and her parents are okay with it. Meanwhile, her parents insisted that themarriage/engagement occurred before the age of eighteen.
Nevertheless, four years latertoday, I am convinced that getting engaged before full maturity age would’ve been the biggestmistake of my life (even though my parents wouldn’t probably share this same opinion withme). I thank my fiancee’s parents today for having set this age condition, and I loudlyannounce that I’m a proud engaged man, hoping for a bright future with my future family. I’dlike to add that early marriage should definitely be abolished. An early marriage could beought to cause innumerable consequences that could be harmful to the couple in question,especially if it is initially a forced marriage coming from the bride’s parents in order to solvetheir personal problems, whether they are financial or social problems.Early marriage causes and consequencesIn fact, according to the Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator Philippe Lazzarini, several reasons were found behind the early marriage phenomenon. For Lebanese, reasons include deteriorating socio-economic situation of families during the last years, inadequate health services, poor education, lower education of mothers, and of course the weak legal and enforcement mechanism, as cited by Lazzarini on March 23, 2017 in the Parliament Library Hall. He also added that accesses to education in addition to restrictive social norms are also considered imp9rtant causes. According to UNICEF study, the women with higher education are less likely to be married than women with no education or primary education; 8 percent of Lebanese women who had no education were married before 15, compar d to 1 percent of women who had higher education.
We still have also today far too many cases of very young Lebanese girls forced to marry someone who is much older in age. Itis not only depriving these young girls from basic rights such as education but it also exposes them to situation of violence. Child marriage also often results in early pregnancy and social isolation, with little education and poor vocational training, thus reinforcing the gendered nature of poverty. Early marriage may in worst cases lead to human trafficking and organized crime, sexual abuse, and marital rape. Early marriage can even lead to death, related to early pregnancies. Philippe also adds that given the complexity of the phenomena, we need a holistic approach to address it.
An approach that tackles poverty, lack of awareness and lack of access to education and that provides essential related policies and laws. An approach that recognizes it affects all communities in Lebanese and that it involves all of us from the religious leaders, civil society organizations, the government and legislators. We should build on national progress. We should tap into the resources and opportunities Lebanon provides, such as a vibrant and active civil society, technical supp01t of international organizations, but also the high levels of female literacy and the relative freedom for women. We should work together to prevent the harms of child marriage through concrete programs for family planning that address health, education, and safety.As Rita Chemaly (author, researcher, activist, and consultant) said, the problem is not new, but the stories are increasing with the plight of Syrian refugees fleeing the horrible war in their country, and child marriages are turning out into lucrative business for poor families.
.. Evidence suggests that rates of child marriage have increased in the Middle East due to the Syrian conflict and the resultant displacement. Increased child marriage during conflict anddisplacement is not unique to the Syrian crisis as prior evidence suggests that vulnerability to8early marriage is heightened during conflicts and natural disasters. Economic necessity andadesire to protect girls from harassment and sexual violence at the hands of strangers are thought to be underlying contributors to child marriage but there are undoubtedly other unrecognized factors related to cultural and social norms which have been impacted from experiences of trauma and loss due to the conflict according to Susan Bartels, a clinician scientist at Queen’s University in Canada, an affiliate expert at the Harvard HumanitarianInitiative, and visiting scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health.
As the internationalQconsortium Girls Not Brides reports, child marriage was common in Syria before theoutbreak of the civil war; but the conflict has increased the practice at an alarming rate. This growth should not be interpreted as-an extrapolation of an- earlier “cultural” practice. Instead, activists are urging aid agencies to analyse the practice of early marriage as a last resort; a desperate response to the extreme circumstances of refugee livelihoods.
Among Syrian refugees, marriage is often thought of as a way for families to protect their daughters against the cycle of poverty and sexual exploitation that affects women and girls disproportionately inconflict settings. As a Save the Children report notes, refugee families have very limited access to resources, financial or otherwise, leaving them with limited options for protecting their children. Many families see marriage as a way to get young girls out of their current refugee status: marriage to Lebanese men affords them the right to claim Lebanese citizenship, effectively allowing these girls to leave refugee camps and settlements. Marriage is also used to obtain entry visas to other neighbouring Middle Eastern countries. It is common knowledge aniong refugee communities that border guards and agencies are much more lenient towards allowing refugee families to enter, versus the sole male or female refugee. Financially, unmarried girls are often considered both a burden and a source of worry. Married, these responsibilities are transferred directly to the husband.
In interviews conducted with Syrian refugees in the Bekaa Valley, a CARE International report found that unmarried girls noted feeling “rejection from their families” as they are seen “as an added burden to protect and a source of worry regarding their so-called ‘honour’ .”Girls sometimes find themselves desiring marriage as a way to avoid the overwhelming sense of being a burden for their families, especially when this burden concerns whether or not families will be able to feed all members equally. The CARE report found that child marriage among Syrian refugees was not only articulated as a way to ease familial responsibilities, but as away for families to “keep the honour of their daughters”. These comments directlyreference8the elevated rates of sexual assault and rape among refugee girls and women, and the stigmathat follows premarital sex regardless of whether or not the encounter was consensual. Without any option for legal recourse in response to sexual assault, families often see marriage as the only way to “secure” their daughters’ virginity until they are married.On the other hand, it .
is true that marriage is a big decision and does not have a perfect time.It is clueless and can take place at any point of time. A person should get into the institute ofmarriage when he/she feels that they are ready for it. Waiting for it may make you lose theright person.
Therefore, when a couple gets married at an early age, there is no pressure ofhaving the kids in the near future. Also, you will be the parents of your kids–mo-stly in your thirties. You would still be strong at this stage wi-thout any disease orailmentscand can be a young parent for your kid. A young mind is easier to adaptability andsustenance.
As the mind grows old, it tends to become more habituated to firmness in the decision making process, thus leaving far less possibilities for the couples to·compromise on situations. For women, an early marriage is safer in terms of pregnancy. According to health care practitioners, 25 is the ideal age for pregnancy in women. ·Late marriage sets the biological clock ticking and leaves more scope for ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages.
Early marriage gives more time for couples to pursue their career comfortably and plan a child soon after. Late marriages often come with this conflict whether their spouses should give more importance to their already established career or plan a family. Also, falling inlove early in life and deciding to marry is the biggest advantage in early marriages becauseyou get to choose your partner freely and decide whom to spend the rest of your .life with atyour own pace.Conclusion