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19 January, 2020 00:00 00 AM
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Steps needed to rein in child marriage

Steps needed to rein 
in child marriage

It is worrying to note that the coastal district of Satkhira has seen a surge in the number of child marriage in recent months. This observation came at a roundtable titled 'No Marriage Before 18' in the district's Press Club recently.

Illiteracy, poverty, sexual harassment and insecurity of girls are known to be mainly responsible for these marriages. What is worrying is that these child brides face an abrupt end to their education and are forced into adolescent motherhood. Some fall prey to torture and even murder for dowry, while others commit suicide. Many of the marriages end in divorce. High rates of school dropouts are strongly related to child marriage.

It is encouraging that upazila administrations have stopped marriages of many underage girls.  In some cases girls are also stopping their early marriages with the help of the local administrations and are turning to studies.  Early marriage stops education of girls and exposes them to repeated child-bearing, malnutrition and broken health.  Marriages of underage girls are taking place rampantly in different places of the country, particularly in rural areas. How many cases are detected and actions taken against those responsible?  A girl may attain puberty even at the age of 13 or 14. This may enable her to procreate. But procreation is not all. Mental maturity is needed for a healthy and sound family life.

Enactment of law for reducing the rate of child marriage will do little if the overall mindset of the people of the country is not changed.   The government has fixed the marriage age for girls at 18. But girls can be married off even at the age of 16 in special cases. Taking advantage of this provision, many girls are being given in marriage. As about 90 per cent of the total population lives in rural areas, underage marriages are being solemnised there rampantly.

There is also a lack of implementation of the existing rules and regulations as well as a lack of awareness. The legal and institutional barriers should be removed first. A massive campaign should be launched to eradicate the menace of child marriage from the society. Parents, guardians, teachers, students and conscious citizens should come forward to fight this menace.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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