An international children’s charity has staged the supposed wedding of a 12 year-old girl to draw attention to the plight of child brides around the world.
As part of Plan International’s ‘Because I Am A Girl’ campaign, the charity set up a blog which was supposedly written by the bride-to-be. It quickly went viral.
In the blog, ‘Thea’ detailed the preparations she was making for her marriage to a 37 year-old man. She discussed where to hold the ceremony and whether or not she should have children of her own.
The ‘wedding’ was set for October 11th, which is the United Nations International Day of the Girl Child. This is held by the UN General Assembly to “recognize girls’ rights”. This year, the theme of the day is “Empowering Adolescent Girls”.
Before the charity revealed that it was behind the blog, many people had contacted the Norwegian authorities to try and stop the wedding taking place.
A spokesperson for Plan International said that “provocation is a powerful tool in order to demonstrate a reality that truly is very provoking”, and that they hoped “people will mobilise against child marriage” in order to help young girls escape a “brutal fate”.
According to the charity, as many as ten million girls under the age of 18 get married every year. Some child brides can be as young as eight years old and, in developing nations, as many as one in three girls are married before they turn 18.
The problem is most prevalent in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. However, it also occurs in the Middle East, the Caribbean and some parts of Latin America. Last month, a 14 year-old Australian girl was detained at Sydney Airport to prevent her getting married in Lebanon.
By raising awareness, Plan International seeks to end child marriage. Additionally, they are campaigning on the issues of make education for girls and gender-based violence in schools.