Speak Out Against Child Brides

February 11, 2014 • Reproductive Health, Daily Email Recap

Mauritania Must Ban Deadly Force Feeding of Child Brides – Activists
See: http://allafrica.com/stories/201401202119.html

Mauritania must ban the practice of force feeding young girls to fatten them up for marriage, says a report which highlights the case of a child bride who died last year after being put on a dangerously high-calorie diet. Some young girls in Mauritania are even taking animal growth hormones and other dangerous drugs to help pile on the pounds and make themselves more marriageable. Many men in the West African country consider obese women beautiful, seeing their size as a sign of wealth and prestige. Girls of around eight can weigh 140kg (300lb) after force feeding, putting a huge strain on their hearts and jeopardising their health. Young women can tip the scales at 200kg. The practice is discussed in a new report on child marriage by rights group Equality Now which describes the case of Khadijetou Mint Moustapha whose weight ballooned after she was force fed from the age of seven. She was married at eight to her father’s cousin, a man 10 years older than her father.

Malawians take steps to end sexual initiation of girls
It’s an old but harmful practice in this sub-Saharan African country where child marriage is rife: girls as young as 7 or 8 enduring ‘sexual cleansing’ rituals that put their health at risk.
See: Malawians take steps to end sexual initiation of girls

When Grace Mwase was 10 years old, she was taken outside her Malawian village and taught how to “handle” a man. At an age when most children are learning fractions in Grade 4 classrooms, Grace was taken to a secluded camp and taught about sexual positions and pleasing her future husband. After one week, Grace and the other girls were sent home with an assignment: find a man and


practice…. The rite of passage is an age-old tradition meant to prepare children for adulthood. But in communities such as Golden Village, where Grace lives with her grandmother, these rituals are impinging on children’s rights and fuelling some of Malawi’s most persistent health problems: underage pregnancy, child marriage and HIV.

Married Young: The Scourge of Child Brides in South Asia
See: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/siddharth-chatterjee/married-young-the-scourge_b_4560523.html

Decades ago in West Bengal, India, a young girl, Kiranbala Bhattacharjee was married off at just 11 years of age. She became a mother to 11 children two of whom died. She was my grandmother and my memory of her was as a beautiful and kind woman. She was also a quiet, frail, stooped, uneducated and prematurely aged lady, who had undergone the ravages of repeated pregnancies and birthing at a tender age, while her body was still not developed enough to bear children safely. Fast forward to the year 2013. The story of 15-year-old Nagma Bano from Rajasthan, India, is no different. She woefully recounts her aspirations to read, write and wear a school uniform like other girls her age. Her father married her off at the age of 13. Today, she is a wife and a daughter-in-law with endless responsibilities and treated as chattel

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