The Case Against Child Marriage

Posted by Lakshmi

Thursday, 9 December 2010

I'm sure most readers would have read the bewildering case of the marriage of a 14 year old school girl to a 23 year old man who  (even worse still )  happened to be her teacher ! ! It was a shocking development to take place in Malaysia in this day and age .  Since it is mired in religious verbose ,  I really would not like to comment further on it  although it is on the tip of my tongue to say my piece ..........................................  .

 ( Sigh, I simply  can't help it now lah , I just have to say my piece........... because,  once I've started and I already have now,  my mind just goes on its own and my hands can't keep still..........( so please erhmmmmm..... disregard my last line of the first paragraph !! )

Readers who are familiar with my blog will know that I have not the slightest intention to meddle in any matters pertaining to religion.  As far as I am concerned I take the view from the angle of a  woman, wife and mother -  And so does this opinion on the unfortunate  child marriage which took place.

A 14 year old girl ( kid ?) is hardly even a remote  candidate for the trials and tribulations of marriage, isn't it? .  When even grown  ( and educated ) adults who enter into matrimony ( with eyes and ears wide open )  cannot seem to cope with the pressure of responsibility, both physical and emotional strength needed,  how on earth can this mere wisp of a child of 14 cope ?  What was the guy thinking? And he was her teacher ?  Her teacher ?  What do you think he was teaching ?  Tell me honestly,  would you trust your daughter of 14 to be his pupil ?  It doesn't matter if he says he's going to make an honest woman out of her. That's just plain excuse.   His job is to teach and only teach, for goodness sake!   It's not his place to encourage his student,   with whatever words,   to marry him.    

I have a few questions

 for the school 

 were the school authorities aware of what was going on right under their very noses, for it sure didn't  happen overnight .  Did they advise him on how  his action  would reflect on the teaching profession et al ?  Wouldn't parents now begin to mistrust the once noble profession of teaching ?  Is it possible to trust their kids with them now ?  What is the response from the National Union of Teaching Profession ?  Are they condoning this because I don't seem to have heard any plausible response from them as yet.

for the parents 

 were the parents aware of what was going on between their daughter and teacher? Did they advise or rightly insisted that she at least finishes her basic school education?  What would her future be like without even a basic PMR or SPM  qualification .  Would she be able to support herself later if the need arises ?  I shudder to even think or ask about childbirth............

for the teacher

Did he fully  realise  the repercussions of his actions down the line? Is he, in all sincerity committed to this  marriage - something like " till death do us apart , in sickness or in health "  when he himself  is just 23 or 24? As a teacher, shouldn't he have rightly advised and waited for the child to finish her  education and then talk about marriage?  Didn't he know that this is ' craddle snatching "?  Or was it for the RM1000.00 given as a gift............ It does make one wonder, doesn't it ?

(I remember sometime ago,  a male teacher, who was awarded " The Teacher of the Year " award, when asked by the reporter,  what was his secret for his success, he told the whole world    "I have *** with my  wife everyday ".  And now here is this teacher marrying  his underaged student.......... I'm  really at a loss for words ..................................

for the Government authorities 

The child is underaged and well below the legal age of marriage.  How did they allow this to happen at a mass wedding ?  Why didn't the Ministry of Women or whatever, step in and prevent this from happening ? .  Did they think a mass wedding was the perfect facade  to hide behind ? If they  claim they were unaware of this ' cradle snatching'  were they sleeping on their job?  Isn't is their job to prevent things like this from happening?

To put it in a nutshell,  everyone involved simply abdicated their duties and let it pass on from one person/authority to another.

Please do read this article from  the - Malaysia Chronicle ' Hypocrisy over child abuse ' by Mariam Mokhtar .   Mariam has done a better job explaining the situation than I.

I rest my case


Hypocrisy features in Malaysian lives. We ban Beyonce, but permit child marriages. We whip girls for drinking beer, but have shares in breweries. Women accused of illicit sex are whipped, whilst the men get off because they have a right to satisfy their sexual needs. Sex with a minor is statutory rape for non-Muslims, but not for Muslims.
By Mariam Mokhtar (Malaysia Chronicle)

Malaysia’s hypocrisy over child abuse

Cherry-picking from Syariah law for excuses that suit them
Mariam Mokhtar, Malaysia Chronicle

EDITOR'S PICK Malaysians have long acknowledged that they are subject to selective justice; poor vs. rich, muslims vs non-muslims, women vs men and now it seems children vs adults.

The marriage of a 14-year old girl on 7 December sparked public outrage. To get around this, Muslim ministers cherry-pick from syariah law. It is this false adherence to Islamic principles and the “holier than thou” attitude that exposes their blatant hypocrisy and double standards.

Nazri Abdul Aziz, minister in the Prime minister’s department who is in charge of legal affairs, finally revealed that the government had no intention of reviewing laws allowing for underage marriages because the practice is permitted under Islam.

He said, “If the religion allows it, then we can't legislate against it. Islam allows it as long as the girl is considered to have reached her pubescent stage, once she has her menstruation".

The Islamic Development Department of Islamic Development (JAKIM) director-general, Wan Mohammad Sheikh Abdul Aziz condoned the practice of underage marriages as “a reasonable move”.

Minister for Islamic Affairs, Jamil Khir Baharom, was guest-of-honour at the mass wedding ceremony involving the 14-year-old. He sanctioned the underage marriage as being legal under syariah law. Couples who took part were alleged to have received RM1000 each.

Curiously, Jamil appears to have done a U-turn. Last March, when there was a furore over the marriage of two children (a 10 and 11-year-old) to men in their forties, Jamil reportedly said, “it was more to satisfy lust”.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Women, Family and Community Development Sharizat Abdul Jalil firmly said, “the government is not for child marriages.”

Would the Prime minister Najib Abdul Razak like to clarify this confusion arising from the conflicting views of his ministers?

Child marriages are common in sub-Saharan Africa, the middle-east and tribal Afghanistan and Pakistan. In Yemen, over a quarter of girls are married before the age of 15.

When a 13-year old Yemeni child bride, Elham Assis, reportedly bled to death after being tied down and forced to have sex with her 23-year-old husband, her death sparked outrage. Yemenis are now pushing for a child marriage ban.

In Malaysia, our politicians dare not face-up to the ulama. They also fear alienating the rural muslim vote.

Syariah laws pertaining to divorce, marriage, conversion and child custody are usually passed without proper debate and discussion, without consulting women and taking their views into consideration.

Child brides often have no legal right to receive inheritance, alimony or child support if the husband dies prematurely or abandons his underage bride.

Girls who marry young are at higher risk of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Many contract sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS, as sex is likely to be unprotected within marriage.

The exploited girl suffers tremendous emotional and physical trauma. She is denied an education and her right to personal freedom and growth are curtailed. She is excluded from interacting with her friends, or participating in school/community activities.

When pregnant, her health is at further risk from premature pregnancy or pregnancy related mortality. Illness, injury, or death because of pregnancy is much higher than for women over 18.

Children need education, not marriage for a good start in life. Around the world, women enjoy advancements in education, living standards and economic and financial freedom.

Hypocrisy features in Malaysian lives. We ban Beyonce, but permit child marriages. We whip girls for drinking beer, but have shares in breweries. Women accused of illicit sex are whipped, whilst the men get off because they have a right to satisfy their sexual needs. Sex with a minor is statutory rape for non-Muslims, but not for Muslims.

When it suits, the life of the prophet is called into comparison, for justification. In modern times, marrying children in no longer acceptable and no excuse should be used to justify this. The rights of children are ignored and the muslim majority remains silent when it comes to the sexual exploitation of children.

The acid test: Would any of our ministers allow their own 14-year-old daughters to be married off?

2 Responses to The Case Against Child Marriage

  1. Blossom inch

    What happen to this world?

  2. Country Arts

    I really don't know Blossom inch. I wish I can make it all go away..................


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