New research shines a light on the link between conflict, disasters and early child marriage. Many parents marry off daughters to protect them, says new study.
“Early marriage is a brutal curtailment of childhood and a violation of children’s rights, yet many parents around the world believe it is the best possible way to ensure their daughters are looked after. We’ve found that early marriage is often perceived by families as a protective measure and is used by communities as a way to respond to crisis….Our research found that parents and girls resort to early marriage as a protection against both real and perceived risks, because they believe they have no alternatives, however, girls who marry young are more at risk of violence, malnutrition and devastating complications in childbirth. In seeking to protect their children, parents can end up exposing them to situations they were aiming to protect them from.”
-Erica Hall, Child Rights Policy Director at World Vision.
Of the 25 countries with the highest rates of early marriage, the majority are affected by conflict, fragility or natural disasters, the report finds. And girls trapped in early marriage tend to be poor, under-educated and living in rural areas where birth and death rates are high and where conflict is common. You can read the full report here.