Early marriage literarily is termed to be a time in a young girl’s life that she is being forced to get into marriage before attaining maturable stage of involving the young girl into marriage. To my view as an individual, the stages that I suggest could be termed “EARLY” for a girl to get into marriage is between the age bracket of (0-17yrs). At this stage the young girl is expected to be in such a time in her life that she is being tutored either academically or morally by her parents/guardian. Academically, she should be in school in order to be literate and versatile in the field of her study, but she is not, she should ensure she gets through the primary and secondary school, obtain her certificate to be able to make her have a focus and direction in life.
To be honest and sincere, young girls that venture into such act so early in life might find it difficult to attain and be exposed to a certain level in this our dispensation. Technically, she has to have a handwork that will earn her some savings in future as a young lady. As we all know the world generally is becoming a global world and as well dynamic. She as a young girl ought to be hardworking, skillful and knowledgeable domestically and academically as well.
Domestically, through out the age bracket of her life growing up, she should be under the tutelage of a guardian or parents who will direct her and educate her on the basic ethics/norms in the society and as well as domestic chores that should be known to a young girl of her age. As the saying goes “Educate the Girl Child, You Educate a Nation.” When a young girl is being encouraged to go into early, marriage, it deprives the girl the opportunity that is availed to every girl of her age to learn all the rudiments involved in a women’s life. As we all are aware that these days no man is ready to get a woman to constitute a nuisance and thereby become a liability to them and the society. Most men are always encouraged when their woman is hardworking and productive in the home. You ought to have something to contribute not necessarily financially but in other areas. When there is a vacuum in a home you tend to become a liability rather than an asset that ought to be. We should know as my own opinion, that marriage is not all about a woman getting into it and just giving birth to children, but there are more to it than just that. When a woman is allowed to be educated to a certain level she will be able to contribute positively not only on her marriage but in the society at large. She should be able to contribute meaningfully to the society at large. When a young girl is educated before getting into marriage, she will really have what to give, because life is and should be a “give and take thing.” ‘Remember this, you cannot give out what you do not have.” You should not always stand to be at the receiving end but you should give out as well.
When a child is being forced into early marriage, she has already been tied down to being just a “furniture with no use or value as a human being. Having said all these, we are all able to understand that early marriage has nothing positive to offer rather detrimental to her as an individual and the society at large. My suggestion towards this issue that is rampaging our society is firstly, there should be adequate campaign from the grassroot that will fight against the menace. At the rural areas there should be creation of awareness to the families, letting them know the dangers that is involved in such act.
Secondly, legally, there should be a law that will kick against such act and make it illegal for any parents to have her child given out early in marriage.
Thirdly, in our churches they should be educated towards that area, there could be programmes such as talk shows, seminars etc. Letting the sister and parents in church understand the negative impact of early marriage to our families and society at large.
This will go a long way to disseminate the information on early marriage in our society. Early marriage has a whole lot of adverse effect to the individual and society at large. Within the age bracket that I have attributed like the ages of (9-12 years) of age, health wise or medically it is not adviseable for a young girl to go through child bearing to avoid having medical complication to her. When a young girl is exposed to such hurdle it steals away some talents in her that would be discovered in her if being groomed in the proper manner.
As a young girl, in the society, the child has the right to say no when she is being forced into getting married early, because with that she can demand for her right to education to any level of her choice.
Economically, the society should make sure that there is employment opportunity for the parents to be able to cater for the upbringing of the child, because most times parents force their child into early marriage due to the circumstances and the poverty that has enveloped the society at large. For instance, when the suitor so to say has the money or is rich and wealthy, that will make the parents to be pushed into getting their child into early marriage, so as to have their in-laws to cater for them and probably the girl’s younger once. But when they are in abject poverty that will deprive them the opportunity of giving the child what rightly belongs to her when a child is pre-mature at heart and age she might know little or nothing when it comes to handling issues about relationships, when there are misunderstanding on the home, she might have difficulties on making the right decisions and making sure that they don’t jeopardize or endanger her future in life. Early marriage, is detrimental to a child because the child will have to endanger her self in the sense that when issues that needs to be handled comes up, there might be pressure so much that she will be forced out of marriage and divorce might be the next option for such a child.
Early marriage for a child has been an issue that makes a child to be deprived of her dignity and respect as a woman. When you cheapen yourself to early marriage, the respect that should be adequately given to such a child will not be there. The man in question will tend to take the child for a ride. She would be disregarded and her opinion or suggestion might not be taken serious, because they will always think she is still a child. In terms of sex education she might not be knowledgeable about sex and when the man has that feeling, lead to the man getting his satisfaction else where thereby involving on extra-marital affair, that as well will also push the girl into opting for a divorce early in life.
With these views of mine, I know that it will go a long way in making early marriage an act that will be abolished totally in our society.
Ucheoma Dike/Damiete Bobmanuel