Looking from the outside in - people, place and practice

Monday, March 7, 2011

Ethiopian Arranged Marriages

People usually refer only to India's practice of arranged marriages, while Ethiopians have  encouraged this practice for years, especially amongst children. Ethiopia's age of consent for females are 15 and males 18, yet so many girls are already married via arranged marriage at the age of 9. 

Child marriage is still a big issue that affects children around the world. In Ethiopia, this practice is causing major health complications for young girls, who's bodies are not yet ready for childbirth. The young girls usually have to marry older men that their parents arrange for them. This usually leads them to develop Fistulas (severe tears in the reproductive region), which is a result of being sexual active 'before their time' or before their bodies can handle it.

What I want to know is why the age of consent is different for girls and boys? Are their minds and bodies valued in different ways? Of course. The girls are the one's that are arranged to be married to an older man, who's body is envaded by an older man during sex and impregnated before she has ever really consented to it. The access that the girls in this society has to agency is very limited, resulting in major health problems and risks.

The movement to stop child marriage is an ongoing campaign by human rights defenders and NGO organizations in Ethiopia, including the IAC - Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices.- Watch more Videos at Vodpod.

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