Child brides among Afghanistan's biggest national shames
82 percent of Afghan girls drop out of school before the sixth grade due to early marriages
The female population of Afghanistan is being heavily compromised. Women and girls who die in childbirth are on the rise. And hospitals are filling up with anemic females. Many high schools throughout the nation lack a single girl student. These social ills are the product of an ongoing heinous problem in this country of 35 million people: early child marriages.
Girls are coerced into marrying young as many families consider it a matter of shame if their daughter is not married by the time she is 16.
In 2013 alone, 53 child marriages have been reported, said Nazia Faizi, a representative of the rights department at the ministry of women's affairs.
The figure does not provide an accurate picture of the situation since "there are more unreported cases in the rural areas where women are more deprived and have no rights or access to legal help," Faizi says.
Child marriages are most common in four Northern provinces of Kunduz, Sarpol, Faryab and Heart. Women's "access to justice is poor," she says.
Girls are coerced into marrying young as many families consider it a matter of shame if their daughter is not married by the time she is 16. Young girls are also often "traded" in marriage to save family honor, or in compensation for a crime committed against a member of the family the girl is being married into.
Although Sharia law allows the marriage of post-pubescent girls, the decision to take a husband lies entirely with the girl herself. She cannot be forced, and she has the right to reject the offer. While this may be the case on paper, the reality for millions of girls is very different.
A serious reproductive health condition arising among teenage brides is fistula. A condition that is common among women and girls who receive little or no professional medical care during pregnancy and labor, the most common variance of fistula is characterized by a passage between the birth canal and an internal organ like the rectum.
Fistula leads to a host of related medical problems including incontinence, bladder infections, infertility and kidney failure.
Dr. Hafiza Omarkhail, head physician of the Malalai Maternity Hospital identifies fistula as a "rampant female problem" here, exacerbated by childhood marriages."
One in 50 Afghan women is likely to die of pregnancy-related causes, according to the 2010 Afghanistan Mortality Survey. The lifetime risk of pregnancy-related death is five times as high in rural areas as it is in towns and cities.
In addition, divorce rates, suicide and self-immolation are on the rise, Parwin Rahimi, in charge of the women's support department at the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission says. A study based on hospital reports and Health Ministry records showed that over 2,300 women and girls in the 15 to 40 age group attempt suicide annually.
© 2013, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Afghanistan, child brides, Sharia law, fistula, suicide
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Asia Pacific News
- Savage and Deadly, Cyclone Mahasen batters Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, moves into India
- Indian families go to drastic measures to protect daughters from rape
- Organ Trafficking: Indian family says their young daughter was killed for organ harvesting
- NK's Kim Jong-Un appoints THIRD army chief in less than two years
- Astonishing miracle in the heinous Bangladesh building collapse: 'God is so merciful!'
- Children as young as five years old forced to work in India's coal mines
- China deals major financial blow to Kim Jong Un
- Five killed in sharp, violent volcanic eruption in the Philippines
- World's most bizzare border dispute baffles Asian nuclear superpowers
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?