Child marriage speech
“I take you as my lawful husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part.”
For many, a wedding vow is an oath two people make to display their love and commitment towards each other. It is to express the deep dedication and passion they share, It is a solemn promise that carves the foundation for a successful marriage.
For many, a marriage stands for trust, patience, and knowing the importance of sacrifice. Marriage means always having someone to talk to, laugh with and rely on. It means having security in each others company and forming a strong partnership and family. Marriage is compromise, acceptance, loyalty, but most importantly, unconditional love.
Unfortunately, for many women around the world, the meaning of marriage means absolutely nothing.
1 in 9 girls are forced into marriage before their 15th birthday.
Child marriage is a disgusting practise that happens in many countries, its origin is rooted in gender inequality, religion, poverty and tradition.
Everyday, young girls are demanded to sacrifice their dreams of going to school, having a career, and growing up like a child should.
A child isn’t physically or emotionally ready to be a mother or a wife. A child shouldn’t have to face the challenges of marriage and childbirth, they shouldn’t have to endure domestic violence and the risk of contracting stds. Children deserve to live full childhoods where they can make their own choices, accomplish their own goals and decide their own futures.
Doreen, a child bride from rural zambia, is just one of the 15 million girls who are forced into child marriage per year. Her story is one of sorrow and despair, at an early age her mother and father suddenly passed away, leaving her and her 5 younger siblings to live with their dying grandma. Doreen’s grandma feared that she didn’t have the means support all 6 children and wasn’t physically able to look after them at her old age. She had no choice but to arrange a marriage for doreen. At 13 she was married off to her 30 year old husband.
“When I asked my grandmother about school, she said the same man who will marry you will take you to school, But when I got married, I stopped there and then. I could not continue to go to school because I was supposed to take care of my husband.”
As well as having many roles as a new wife, doreen soon found out she was pregnant. As a result of this she was bullied and laughed at by her classmates until she left school out of embarrassment. Doreen spent the rest of her pregnancy taking care of her husband and doing chores instead of getting the education that she deserved.
“I was hurt when I discovered I was pregnant. I was too young, I used to think that my life would change for the better when I got married.”
Being a 13 year old child, doreen knew nothing about the challenges of pregnancy, childbirth and parenting. She endured an agonizing labor, which ended in an emergency cesarean section.
“I’m just a child, I’m just the way you see me. And I wouldn’t like anyone who is 13 to go through what I have been through.”