Melissa Dewberry enjoys doing crossword puzzles, walking her cat and pondering ways to patch up the hole in the ozone layer.
I Do: Where’s My Doll?
A new video has been released by Girls Not Brides featuring Desmond Tutu, Mary Robinson, and Graça Machel. The video is a call to action to people around the world to “end child marriage in a single generation.
“Great change can happen within a single generation. I know this to be true.” – Desmond Tutu
Original Article: August 27, 2011
A new legal case brings much needed attention to the issues of forced child marriage which takes place in areas such as Zambia and throughout much of the isolated rural third world. In early 2011 a 14 year old orphan living with her grandmother was told by her aunt that she must quit school and marry a man 31 years her senior because he would take care of her and her grandmother. Concerned neighbors noticed the situation and informed local authorities. The child’s husband and her family now face criminal charges including contributing to the defilement of a minor.
Many young Zambian girls in rural locations are forced into marriages with much older men who consider the child-brides nothing more than “purchased property.” Although there is a law in place prohibiting sex with anyone under the age of 16, it is difficult to enforce this law in isolated areas where the practice is accepted because the child’s family often receives some form of a monetary gain. Many young girls are forced to stop their schooling and are frequently abused physically by their new husbands and his family.
In an October 2010 report from the “Zambia – Children in Need Network,” Mutegaya B. Julius stated that “Child marriage is a fundamental violation of human rights,” and “many girls are married without their full and free consent.” Zambia’s government officials believe that progress towards stopping this type of action is inhibited by the large number of women who are illiterate and can’t claim their rights.
Local community-based organizations are collaborating with the Zambia Civic Education Association (ZCEA) to lead human and children’s rights workshops in many Zambia towns in an effort to raise awareness of this situation. However, without the enforcement of the laws already in place, any legislation that protects the rights of young female children in Zambia may be fruitless.
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