Child marriage remains a challenge in Africa. Over the years, the government and development partners have made various commitments and efforts to curb the menace of child marriage. However, there is almost no empirical evidence on the predictors, norms, and practices that support their efforts. There is evidence that shows that married or yet to be married teenage girls or victims of early girl child marriages have a higher incidence of suicidal thoughts or attempts, which indicates that child marriages have problems early on, even during sex and childbirth. Child marriage is a union that constitutes a violation of the human . Below gives four factors that makes the practice unlawful;
The Defilement Act
Child defilement occurs when adults use children to obtain sexual satisfaction or expose them to sexual activities and this however incriminates the actions of early child marriage with reference from the defilement Act of many African countries. For example in the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, Article 101, paragraph 1, of the 1998 Criminal Law (Act No. 554) defines defilement as the natural or unnatural access to any child under 16 years of age. Article 101, paragraph 2, further stipulates that anyone who physically, naturally or unnaturally carnally knows a child under the age of 16, regardless of consent, constitutes a crime. In the case of a summary conviction, he will be sentenced to not less than 7 years , Not more than 25 years.
Underlying Negative Health Impact and Increased Child Mortality
Public health agencies primarily define teenage pregnancy as the potential risk of girls’ sexual activity and poverty-related social problems. In Africa, a study conducted has shown that women who married before age 18 had a higher death rate for their first child than those who married after age 18. Thus, child marriage poses more serious intergenerational health risks for girls because they face various reproductive health challenges, their children have higher mortality rates, and are more likely to be born prematurely. Also sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can be transmitted during sexual intercourse, this proves fatal for young child’s and about 25% of these sexually active teenagers are more likely to contract STD’s.
Human Rights Abuse
The freedom to make decisions is a human right. International human rights law protects people’s right to decide what to do with their time, money, lifestyle as well as make your own healthcare decisions, work for a living, and building relationships with friends and family. However, for the betrothed girl child, she’s raided of that right to decide freely and that infringes on their fundamental human rights.
Deprived Access To Education
When a girl gets married, she usually drops out of school and ends her formal education. Girls are more likely to drop out of school during the preparation period before or shortly after marriage. As a wife or mother, you usually need to take care of your family, children and extended family. Married girls face many practical obstacles in education, including family responsibilities, stigma, forced dropouts, and gender norms that keep them at home.
Child marriage is a form of violence against girls because the power dynamics in marriage are not balanced, which makes them more vulnerable to sexual, physical and psychological violence. Rights of children. Despite being prohibited by international law, it continues to steal the childhood of millions of girls under the age of 18 from all over the world. Early marriage is a harmful practice that deprives girls of the right to make important decisions about their sexual health and well-being. It forces them to drop out of education and enter a life with bleak prospects, increasing the risk of violence, abuse, poor health, or premature death.