Survivors of Child Marriage Speak Out in West Africa

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Child SlaveryForced MarriageLaw & PolicyRehabilitation & LiberationSurvivor Stories

As she sits on the floor and holds her baby, she is panicked and tears fill her eyes. Her husband, nearly 20 years older, might kill her if he knew she was telling this story.

Speaking anonymously, she says she was married at age 13 in the West African nation of Guinea because her parents feared she could harm her marriage prospects by having premarital sex. At the time, she said, she had not even developed breasts. “I was given to a man that I didn’t choose before my body was even ready to have sex. I couldn’t even move for a week afterward because I was swollen and bleeding,” she says.

Child marriage continues to be a serious issue in West and Central Africa. The Washington Post reports:

“More than half of girls in Guinea are married before age 18. While the country recently banned marriage for those under that age, observers say the practice remains widespread. Some girls enter arranged marriages during times of insecurity or when families are under economic strain.”

Leila, a survivor from Niger, explained that her uncle forced her to marry a man when she was only 14 because of a debt he could not repay. She says her husband beat her for refusing to have sex. It was only after her second pregnancy that she was able to escape and get a divorce so she could return to her studies.

In tears, she offered hope to other girls who are victims of forced marriage: “I would say to them to be patient and remain courageous,” she said.

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Nikaela Araújo PereiraAna CampelloNoireeDeeKarin Anderson Recent comment authors
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Nikaela Araújo Pereira

Estupro legalizado, abominação, regresso moral, mostrando que nossa sociedade é falsamente evoluída, moralmente hipócrita e perversa, e que muitos seres humanos não sabem o que representa a divindade de conceber uma vida quando a vende para ser escrava e ser violentada diariamente em sua infância, estamos voltando a ser reprodutores medievais, só que agora negociamos nossa podridão via celular e internet!

Ana Campello
Ana Campello

O casamento infantil prova que o desrespeito aos direitos humanos persiste. Privar alguém da liberdade de escolha e de ter poder sobre o corpo evidenciam que a evolução ocorre lentamente.

Noiree
Noiree

Unfortunately, child marriage is an issue across the planet, not just in Africa. Additionally, shaming an entire continent for the actions of a few is useless. However, educating men and women around the world about women’s rights is vital. Right here in the USA, women were marrying at 13 and that was only 1.5 generations ago. Education is key.

Dee
Dee

This child marriage is sooo WRONG!!! This is a child. What is wrong with these men and the child’s family members. All of this is a using another person for their own person gains. Their government needs to do a whole lot more to protect the children. These are children for God Sakes. Let these children be children and grow in peace.. Being married and having a child is too much for a child to take on and endure.And too much for an adult for most of the time. Shame on you Africa! Stop CHILD ABU

Karin Anderson
Karin Anderson

Strong measures should be taken against men participating in this,