| Friday, December 10, 2004
| THE TOLL OF BEING A BRIDE TOO SOON
|(Abstracted from the report on Currents Social Issues
by Connie Lauerman/Tribune staff reporter)
BEFORE THEY BECOME WOMEN, more than 51 million girls
in developing countries become wives and mothers.
As a result, they also my have become victims of HIV/AIDS,
domestic violence, poverty and social rejection.
Growing up in her native India, Geeta Rao Gupta remembers
the sight -- and stench -- of female beggars on the street
corners of Bombay. It was years later that she discovered
why these women were penniless, social pariahs.
Rao Gupta is president of the International Center for
Research on Women, a Washington DC based research organization
that works to improve the lives of women worldwide. She is an
authority on the impact of child marriage.
The street corner beggars Rao Gupta saw were former child
brides who had given birth before their bodies were ready
for pregnancy and delivery. Long and obstructed labor caused
tissue in the birth canal to rupture, resulting in the
continual and uncontrollable leakage of feces and urine,
a condition called obstetric fistula.
The the young women were thrown out of their homes and
communities because of the stigma that accompanies
obstetric fistula, Rao said.
Child marriage is also common in sub Saharan Africa and South Asia.
Parents maay view early marriage as a way to protect their daughter
from HIV/AIDS, provide for their financial security and ease the
burden on a family with many mouths to feed, world health and human rights organization concur.
Child marriage is both an economic and cultural issue. Some fo the worlds industrialized countries once allowed their children to work in factories and marry young.
CHILD MARRIAGE BY THE NUMBERS:
100,000,000 : Number of girls worldwide who will be
married before the age of 18 in the next decade.
40 percent of girls in Nepal marry before age 15.
7 percent of girls in Nepal marry before age 10.
50 percent of girls in Uganda marry before age 18.
57 percent of girls in India marry before age 18.
75 percent of girls in Bangladesh marry before age 18.
82 percent of girls in Niger marry before the age of 18.
100,000: Approximate numbers of new obstetric fistula among girls annually.
2,000,000: Number of women suffering from obstetric fistual worldwide.
6,000: Number of adolescents infected by HIV daily
(Source: International Research for Women)
|posted by infraternam meam @ 5:00 AM