Saturday, October 13, 2007

how young is too young

It is clear to many of us that in many countries throughout the world there are still arranged marriages. I understand that they are typically traditional but it seems that in certain cases they are definitely violating the human rights of those involved. In Afghanistan there are marriages being arranged for girls as young as 3 years old and while in arranged marriages those involved do not really have a say, at 3 years old they can barely speak, let alone say anything about not wanting to get married. Its pretty obvious that the young children (in the case I read about the girl was 3 and the boy was 7) are being treated completely as property and are traded to further the families' interests. In addition, many of these marriages, because they occur at such a young age, end up with various problems, such as abuse and one of the spouses, usually the wife, running away. It was said that despite the minimum legal age for marriage being 16 for a girl and 18 for a boy, nearly 43% of marriages happen before then. Thats nearly HALF. It is also said that some marriages are arranged before birth. The rights of these children are being violated before they are even born. I find this absolutely ridiculous and i am perplexed at the thought of being obligated to marry someone before even leaving the womb. Although it is the tradition in certain countries and tribes to wed the children at a relatively young age.. I personally feel that 3 years old or before birth is a little too young.

6 comments:

pud2you said...

"In our tribe, it is like this."

This all comes down the aspect of cultural relativism. As unbelievable as it is for us to understand arranged marriages, we have to recognize that there will always be customs of other cultures that we don’t understand or don’t agree with. Not that I am saying this practice is right… because I certainly don’t think a child who is not yet able to verbally communicate should be forced or even allowed by choice into any relationship. Especially when the end result is often physical harm of the involved parties, I personally disagree wholeheartedly with this practice. But who are we to frown upon the ways of life of people other than ourselves? If they were to learn that you have to be 18 in order to be wed in the United States (or have parental permission) they would probably think we were crazy too.

My family highly discourages interfaith marriages. In fact, my grandmother instructed my mother that she was required to marry a Jewish man or else she would essentially be cut off from the family. This instance has no age limit to it, but isn’t that basically the same thing; limiting someone to who they can and cannot fall in love with by no choice of their own?

aditi said...

Firstly, what you are referring to is child marriage which is arranged, not essentially arranged marriage. Arranged marriage is when the girl and boy's family decide to get their children married based on factors they believe will lead to the growth of their children. Though child marriage is always arranged marriage, arranged marriage is not always child marriage. Marrying before the age of 18 is illegal and hence child marriage. Child marriage most certainly should be banned as the children have no say in the matter. In arranged marriages however, the girl and boy have a say in the matter. A meeting is arranged where the two talk and once the boy decides he likes the girl, the wedding date is set. True, he probably doesn't really get to know her in the 30 minutes he is allowed to speak with her, but his approval is essential for the marriage to take place. Hence, arranged marriages are not a violation of human rights unless the girl is forced into the marriage which is a whole other issue altogether.

Ryan said...

I do believe that this is a problem and that it is wrong. In the article, it is pointed out that many of these marriages are common with poor, uneducated families. I think that this says a lot. Furthermore, there is such a large economic incentive for the family of the bride. The problems are obvious; unhappy marriages, violence, suicide, prostitution etc. The key to solving this problem, I believe, is education since it is so common with the uneducated poor in Afghanistan.

aditi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tigist said...

The only answer to solve this is, like Ryan said, by educating the poor, since this is prevalent in poor neighborhoods.

smilekejcc said...

I am in agreeance with pud2you because arrange marriages comes down to cultural relativism. Although its crazy to think that children are getting married at such a young age, this still has to do will the culture you are brought up in. For example, if the United States had a law in placed encouraged this I pretty sure I would be comfortable in having an arranged marriage.