Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Ethiopian girls fear forced marriage

Via: BBC
“Parents don't have money for their children to go to school so they prefer for them to be abducted and married” (Elleni Mamo,Unicef)

Daily, vulnerable girls are “terrified” about walking to and from school, markets, and other locations out of fear of abduction. By the age of 13, Mulu Melka had escaped abduction twice, as she is one of many vulnerable girls in Ethiopia susceptible to marriage by abduction. Mulu’s story highlights this horrendous practice, which is a “widespread problem in Ethiopia.” This article contends that in one region of this East African country, an estimated 92% of all marriages are by abduction. Mulu’s last abductor was a 39-year-old suitor that she refused to marry, who subsequently, with Mulu’s parents consent kidnapped her. The article also explores the experience of Aberash, another girl captured, beat, raped and forced to marry. Strikingly, after Aberash escaped, she was forced to return to her husband by her parents and the local court. According to this article, poverty is an critical factor in abduction: "If they marry the girl legally they have to pay a lot of money to the parents of the girl but when it is abduction they take her by force then the elders intervene to mediate and they pay a very little amount of money or cattle to marry the girl." Poverty-stricken families that can not afford to send their children to school prefer marriage by abduction. Also, men resort to kidnapping when parent’s reject their request for marriage.


Laura Phung said...

that is really messed up. what is the cause of this? why is this even still in practice? the UN is supposed to help but they are doing nothing to prevent this from happening to ethiopia. it would be terrible to live in a society, even if i grew up to love it, to fear it. abduction seems like a way of life for girls. and these girls have nothing to go back to. they either get abducted and are forced to marry, or get abducted then married off by their parents. either way, they end up unhappy.

Millennium HS
Laura Phung

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