Monday, October 22, 2007

Girls for Sale

Imagine being engaged when you're three years old to a cousin picked by your parents who are basically giving you as a gift to his family. That's what's happening to a little girl named Sunam and many more young girls in Afghanistan, according to a recent Associated Press story. The article sites UNICEF statistics that say 16 percent of Afghan children are married younger than age 15, even though the legal minimum age is 16 for girls and 18 for boys. Many of these arranged marriages are little more than legalized selling of girls to the grooms' families, who pay a "bride price," which basically makes the girls the property of their husbands and in-laws, opening the way for abuse. If the marriage turns out to be loveless or worse, the girl is trapped for the rest of her life, though the husband can take an additional wife.
Fortunately, some rights groups are working to change the custom and enforce existing laws, including Medica Mondiale and Women for Afghan Women, both of whom could use our help.

5 comments:

Ayazheni said...

Just my 2 cents.


Human rights are more important than any culture or religious rights.
I really wish people would read this site - http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/

Susan Edwards said...

I agree that human rights should supercede fundamentalist practices in any religion, but that website looks more like an anti-Muslim site than a human rights site. If people want to help promote human rights, they need to help advocates working hard to make things better, not read stuff that just points fingers and spews venom against a group of people.

Anonymous said...

While it may fall under the umbrella of human rights, I strongly feel it's more women's rights. It dumbfounds me that this day and age people are still living in such archaic societies. Just a reminder that women's rights are not set in stone. We have to always be watchful and act.

Anonymous said...

the fact is that women who are sold into marriage have as good or better chances of having a good marriage as those who pursue the stupid idea of dating and love as the basis for marriage.

Women are too emotional to make good decisions and should not be allowed to have a choice in whom they will marry. The family of the woman should choose for her, so that she will be well cared for and not be a burden to her family.

Susan Edwards said...

I have to say I agree with the first anonymous poster that women's rights are not set in stone and that we have to constantly be on guard against all the things that eat away at them slowly or make them vanish in an instant.
Oddly enough, I also agree with one thing the second anonymous poster said, though much of the posting seems designed to be provocative rather than thoughtful. I have known several happily married couples whose marriages were arranged. There is substance to the idea that a young woman and man's parents are better qualified than the young woman and man to pick a suitable mate. After all, the parents have presumably been married and they know what it takes to make a good marriage. They also (one would hope) know their children well enough to know what they need in a life partner. People in the throes of infatuation and/or passion often make bad choices. Marriages made on the basis of romance alone can get into big trouble when the romance fades.
Where anonymous poster #2 loses me, however, is in the statement that women are too emotional to make good decisions and so should have no say in the biggest decision of their lives, ie whom they will spend the rest of their lives with. I think it is both sexes who make bad decisions when they are based on hormones and emotions, not just women. But I think both sexes should have a say in whom they marry. I also think that having both sets of parents involved in the process would make for stronger marriages all around too.