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58pc rural women married off before 20

ISLAMABAD, April 10: Society for Human Rights and Prisoners Aid (Sharp) on Thursday presented a street theatre on ‘early marriages’ here on Thursday to raise awareness of social and psychological impacts of early marriages students of .

Child marriage in Pakistan is a reality, it is socially acceptable. Poverty, tradition and low status of women are cited as obvious reasons for the grave violation of child rights.

Since early marriages are more prevalent in rural areas where according to a study by population council 58 per cent rural women are married before 20, the theatre was also presented in the rural background.

Marriage is being considered as the synthesis of the individual and social wishes, but poor families regard a young girl as an economic burden.

The story revolved around a 13-year-old girl ‘Chamky’ who belonged to a poor family. To reduce the economic burden her parents forced her to marry an aged man who was already married.

The students through their vivid performances presented the real life picture. The young girl was incapable of coping with the domestic burdens. The marriage also reduced her choices as she could no more play in streets with her friends.

Her failing to cope with the responsibilities of married life was annoying for her in-laws for which she was rebuked.

“Early marriages create negative impact on the mind of the girls being immature they could not cope with the burdens of married life and suffer as a result,” said the Project Manager, Sharp, Shumaila Ibrahim, while addressing the audience. The girls are made to marry in an early age against their will on the name of family honour which leaves negative impacts on their personality. They lose interest in life, she added.

There was a dire need to create awareness among people through workshops and seminars to weed out the trend of early marriages, she said.

She said that early marriage was a violation of human rights, compromising the development of girls because marriages typically culminates in childbearing at a young age, which poses great health risks for a young girl and for her infant.
Source: Dawn
Date:4/11/2008

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