Earlier today, someone sent me a message via facebook inbox. The person thought this post might interest me, and that person was certainly right.

I am awaiting permission to share her post in my blog. Please have a read. This is another perspective regarding childhood marriages from those who deal with the children directly and can tell us outcomes of real cases.

Hartini Zainudin

20 hrs ·

I personally know of 3 cases where the girl was 12 or 13 years and the boy was about the same age or slightly older. Definitely not rape. Sweethearts. But the parents say, if you’re going to be a couple, then let’s marry you off before you indulge in more ‘maksiat’ activities. In all 3 cases, the girls were pregnant. In one case, both sets of parents agreed and received special permission from the shariah judge to marry their children. In the 2 other cases, the parents of the girl say marry my daughter or else, I’ll say you raped my daughter. So the couples marry.
Within a year of delivering the babies, the boy, who’s no more than 15 or 16 himself, runs off or goes back to the parents home and says, I want a divorce.
So the young girls, who are all no more than 14 years old, with their babies, go home to their parents and either stay in school, while their parents take care of the baby or drop out of school and take care of their babies.

In the case in Kedah, where the girl was 12 and gang raped by 3 different young men, the father of the girl, threatens all 3 boys and forces one of them to marry the 12 year old or he’ll pursue the rape charges.
Within a year, the couple is divorced.
The boy skips merrily off; the girl is left with the baby and staying with her parents.

So please, don’t tell me I don’t know about child marriages!

Why is marriage the end all answer to teens having sex? Shouldn’t it be sex education?

Or in rape cases, marry the victim and all is forgiven? Rape, marry, abuse, divorce! Lovely!

Why is there no child support for the baby and the young mother? I divorce you 3 times apparently is enough to absolve you from your equal responsibility to your wife and child. It’s a convenient excuse and not how the sanctity of marriage was set up. Scary!

Why do we always revert back to ( my favourite) – my grandmother got married at 14.
Yes, 50 years ago. 60 years ago – when women here didn’t have many choices
And these women were usually from poor families.

Try telling a middle class or rich family to marry their child off at 14 because they have a boyfriend or having sex.

Adults have a hard time making a marriage work nowadays, you think getting pregnant at 12 and being married off is the best and only solution? Pfft!

#sweetheartclause
#dontmarrytherapevictimoff
#childmarriageiswrong

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As of 6th April 2017, 10.50pm, there are 230 shares. I believe and hope it will reach all Malaysians.
If you scroll along the comments, majority are in agreement, and then there is this comment:

Romil Shamsudin But Tini the importance of marriage in Islam is also to maintain the dignity of the lady and that the child is born not out of wedlocked. Both are important for the mother and the child. Legally as well the father even after divorce has an obligation to take care of them. It may not happen now but he may do it when he is mature.

The alternative is the boy going to jail.

Hartini Zainudin No, not in the cases I know. The mother is stigmatised and ridiculed at the NRD office when she goes to register the birth of the child; we stigmatise against any child born out of wedlock, regardless whether the parents are married off; look at the stats for the no of divorces in this country- would be interesting to look at the stats of how many get divorced amongst marriages under 18 to prove my hunch; look at the no of children born out of wedlock and no of babies given up for adoption. There is a direct correlation Romil Shamsudin. What dignity? For the child or mother? Who enforces or compels the boy to support the mother and child? At 16? Tak mampu. What qualifications does a 16 year old boy have?
Romil Shamsudin For both. Society needs to understand that this is a reality and the alternative is worst
Hartini Zainudin Well, that means education first. Not rushing them off to get married as the only and first resort
Hartini Zainudin Child marriage is the last resort and not the only option
Sutina Nordin What dignity is there to be gang raped ? And married off to one of your rapist??
Romil Shamsudin In the case of violent rape of course the rapist should be jailed. What is the norm is consensual sex between teenagers
Hartini Zainudin And honestly, Romil Shamsudin our system is set up where the guy goes to sekolah akhlak, not jail and the girl is sent to a home till she’s 18, where it is her responsibility to bring up the baby. Not the boy’s. Both lives are ruined. Alternatives are, that parents talk, agree to bring up child, kids stay in school, no statutory rape, no marriage or decide after everyone agrees they can support themselves and the child.
Or child is given up for adoption- that’s another solution. But it’s traumatising for the young pregnant girl. Again, burden is on the girl.
In rape cases, really? Man goes to jail. Guy over 18 should not be in a relationship with a 12 year old.
Hartini Zainudin My experience? I think I’ve mentioned. Hold on
Romil Shamsudin But what about the child growing up learning that he or she is born out of wedlock? The social stigma would be painful for them
Hartini Zainudin Kan? Look at what is happening in this country Romil Shamsudin? 225,000 babies registered as born out of wedlock in 5 years. What about the ones not registered? Despite the ridicule and stigma? We have baby hatches and dumping of babies. We marry children off because we don’t want to stigmatise the babies? We do it all the time. It’s sex education- we need it taught correctly!
Can I share something with you? In half the cases I’ve worked on- more than half, the young pregnant girls come from good, poor families with very strong religious upbringing. The parents had no idea. Didn’t talk to kids about sex or how to address first love or being wooed by a boy. You’re 13 years old. Crushes are natural. Nothing unnatural about falling in love. Just know your boundaries

Vicky Al-hussainiChild marriage should not be the last resort. It shouldn’t be an option at all. Children are not capable of making the commitments and promises required to enter into a marriage because they CANNOT understand the implications of that promise.

ALL rapists violent or otherwise are guilty of rape. There is NO gentle rape, and if it results in a child it takes more than innocence. Children CANNOT consent to have sex.

I think there is confusion here. Child marriages are allowed for the similar purpose of any marriage, to build a family in a loving and secure environment. Hence, it is hoped that the wali will act in the best interest of child, and so too the court.
When it is used as a tool to cover up shame or rape, be it statutory or otherwise, how could the original purpose of marriage ever be achieved? Isn’t that a contradiction?
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