Amira - whose quote is below - picture from worldvision.org.uk
I was aware of arranged marriages, and had heard vague stories of young girls being spirited away from the UK on holiday and ending up married and living with their new in-laws in remote areas of India, for example. But I hadn't given it a lot of thought. Shame on me.
I should have done. I have two daughters, aged 13 and 16 this year, and if they had been living in some of these countries, they could both have been sent away, married and had several babies each by now. They would have lost their independence, their choices in life, and their opportunities to have careers. It seems that these girls are being traded like commodities and not treated as real people with thoughts and minds of their own. Thank goodness that people are waking up to this and setting up support groups to prevent it happening.
There are a number of things we can all do to help, and you should have a look at the World Vision website here: http://www.worldvision.org.uk/get-involved/international-day-of-the-girl/ and see if there is anything on their list of suggestions that you can do. Even just blogging raises awareness, and that can be the start of something much bigger.
Reading through the material, I found quotes like these and they are heart-breaking:
“I couldn’t believe my ears. I burst into loud cry and my eyes were filled with tears. I begged her kneeling down to cancel the marriage, but she said no.” Amira, 10 – Ethiopia.
“It was not voluntary and I became very angry when I heard about. It was a sudden agony to me. I felt I would have no chance for education. My hope for development darkened.’’ Kassa, 14 – Ethiopia