TODAY the story of child marriages has once again reared it’s ugly head. This time a young girl of only 14 years has died in labour. The reason, she was simply too young to give birth.
This is happening to many young girls who are being forced into marriage before their bodies are ready for either pregnancy or child birth.
We must remember that every girl below the age of 18 is a child and must not be forced into marriage.
Many have spoken but the problem still persists. Many have been taken to court, fined, warned, jailed, but the problem still exists.
In 2013, we adopted a new constitution which stipulates that no person may be compelled to enter marriage against their will and calls on the state to ensure that no children are pledged into marriage but the problem is still with us.
There is a Shona proverb that says “regai dzive shiri, mazai haana muto” meaning wait for these girls to become women before they become sexually active or married. Please pay heed.
Now this girl has died because of greedy men who want to deflower innocent girls.
It is shocking to find out that such things are happening in a country with clear laws against kidnapping, against rape and against child marriage.
The perpetrators must be arrested and jailed – even years after committing the said crimes.
This horror, this savage way of living and this gross ill-treatment of the girl child must be stopped forthwith.
The girl child is subjected to a lot of mishaps in society. From peer pressure, pregnancies, early marriages to poverty and they all need society to act.
People are generally taking advantage of young people – girls in particular – and this has resulted in the aforementioned problems haunting the girl child.
Perhaps the biggest of these problems is child marriages and unwanted pregnancies, which usually leads to girls dropping out of school.
Sex with minors is one of the biggest problems threatening the development of the girl child.
So common is sex with minors who should be in school that many adults have accepted it as a norm – as long as the perpetrator is willing to pay lobola to the victim’s parents.
The parents of these young girls are endorsing such child marriages to enjoy the criminals’ wealth.
Perpetrators must be arrested and found guilty of having sexual intercourse with minors and punished accordingly.
Abusive adults are becoming too many by the day and if nothing is done to make examples out of them, early marriages, spread of HIV, unwanted pregnancies and general abuse of the girl child will be the order of the day.