Too Young To Wed
Rural Bangladesh continues the illegal practice of child marriage
In rural Bangladesh parents often regard their daughters a financial burden. Marrying off girls as young as 10 has become a cultural norm, despite child marriage being illegal.
"I want to be so many things when I grow up. I want to be a doctor so I can help people", says Beezly, a 13-year-old schoolgirl. But her parents have other plans for their daughter: they have arranged to wed her to a man twice her age. The illicit ceremony is conducted in a secret location to avoid police attention. Her new husband has no time for her aspirations. "A good wife takes care of me when I come home from my shop. She will make me food and get along with my parents". Beezly's story is typical of young girls in Bangladesh, which has the highest child marriage rate in Asia. But not everyone is happy with the status quo. Keshab Roy's niece poisoned herself when her family tried to force her into marriage. "I keep thinking of her. Why isn’t she here? How many more girls are going to die like this?" he asks. He now tries to convince families not to force young daughters into marriage, and organises cinema screenings to broadcast his message to a wider audience. Yet without a more fundamental challenge to the value placed on girls, it will be an uphill battle to break the cycle.