Child marriage has many causes: cultural, social, economic and religious. In many cases, a mixture of these causes results in the imprisonment of children in marriages without their consent.
Poor families sell their children into marriage either to settle debts or to make some money and escape the cycle of poverty. Child marriage fosters poverty, however, as it ensures that girls who marry young will not be properly educated or take part in the workforce.
Protecting' the Girl's Sexuality
In certain cultures, marrying a girl young presumes that the girl's sexuality, therefore the girl's family's honor, will be "protected" by ensuring that the girl marries as a virgin. The imposition of family honor on a girl's individuality, in essence, robbing the girl of her honor and dignity, undermines the credibility of family honor and instead underscores the presumed protection's actual aim: to control the girl.
Child marriage is a product of cultures that devalue women and girls and discriminate against them. "The discrimination," according to a UNICEF report on "Child Marriage and the Law," "often manifests itself in the form of domestic violence, marital rape, and deprivation of food, lack of access to information, education, healthcare, and general impediments to mobility."
Individual Rights Denied by Child Marriage
The Convention on the Rights of the Child is designed to guarantee certain individual rights which are abused by early marriage. Rights undermined or lost by children forced to marry early are:
The right to an education.
The right to be protected from physical and mental violence, injury or abuse, including sexual abuse, rape, and sexual exploitation.
The right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health.
The right to rest and leisure, and to participate freely in cultural life.
The right to not be separated from parents against the child's will.
The right to protection against all forms of exploitation affecting any aspect of the child’s welfare.
The right to eventual employment
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