Ending Child Marriage: Definition Of Child, Early And Forced Marriage (cefm)
Ending Child Marriage: Definition Of Child, Early And Forced Marriage (cefm)
Ending Child Marriage Early Marriage is marriage that occurs before a person reaches the age of consent 18 years. Also known as child marriage, it is the practice where one or both spouses are below the age of 18. Similarly, Forced Marriage is marriage that occurs without the expressed consent of either one or both of the parties. Usually, the party whose consent is not sought is the girl and she is usually forced or coerced into marriage although some boys can be affected by this practice. Strong social and cultural norms also drive the practice despite legislation in place. Child early and forced marriage (CEFM) is a negative social practice because these young girls lack the mental capacity to make informed decision about their marriage partner, the timing or the implications of this binding commitment. Many ultimately contract Vaginal Fistula during childbirth because their bodies are not yet mature and ready so the thin separation between the anus and vagina tears causing urine and feces to pour out of the girl uncontrollably. This harmful traditional practice persists worldwide. In developing countries, more than 30 percent of girls are married before the age of 18, and 14 percent before they are 15. Statistics from the UNFPA indicate Ghana has one of the highest child marriage prevalence rates in the world. On average, one out of four girls will be married before their 18th birthday. In 2008, about 25% of the women aged 20-24 were married/in union before age 18. Again the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) 2006, indicates that in 2006, 26.4% of women in Ghana got married before the age of 18 years. Thus nearly one out of four women gets married while still a child with 5.5% prevalence rate in rural areas compared to 3.3% of women from the urban areas getting married before 15 years. The situation progressively worsens as data from the 2011 MICS showed that 6% of women aged 15 to 49 years got married before 15 years of age, while 27% got married before 18 years. In rural areas, prevalence of women marrying before 15 years rose to 8%, while the urban areas stood at 4%, making a total of 33% of women in early marriage. Instead of the practice declining, it is worsening. On the African continent, data from the World Fertility Survey and DHS data indicates in several countries, over 40 per cent of young women have entered marriage or a quasi-married union by the time they reach the age of 18. By contrast, in only two countries are more than 10 per cent of boys under 19 married. [1] Early marriage is generally more prevalent in Central and West Africa – affecting 40 per cent and 49 per cent respectively of girls under 19 – compared to 27 per cent in East Africa and 20 per cent in North and Southern Africa. Many of these young brides are second or third wives in polygamous households. The problem with tackling early marriage in Africa is with the enactment of incoherent laws as some Countries have laws that set marriageable ages at less than 18 years. [2] These are Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Gabon, Malawi, Mozambique, Senegal, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. In Ghana, marriage age is set at 18 years while Age of Consent in Ghana is 16 years old. The age of consent is the minimum age at which an individual is considered legally old enough to consent to participation in sexual activity. Individuals aged 15 or younger in Ghana are not legally able to consent to sexual activity, and such activity may result in prosecution for statutory rape or the equivalent local law. In Tanzania, minimum marriage age for women is 15. Rwanda is the only country that has a minimum marriage age of 21 for both general marriages and those with parental consent.

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