Why one in three child brides faces broken marriage in Karnataka

Lack of education and access to schools was one of the main reasons compelling girls into child marriage.
Why one in three child brides faces broken marriage in Karnataka
Why one in three child brides faces broken marriage in Karnataka
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One out of every three girl child marriages in Karnataka ends up in a “broken marriage”, says a recent study by Samajika Parivarthana Janandolana, conducted in alliance with Child Rights and You (CRY).

SPJ interviewed 130 women between 18-25 years who were married off as children in 93 villages in 6 districts of Karnataka (Raichur, Gulbarga, Belgaum, Haveri, Davangere and Bengaluru). The findings were brought to light in an event called ‘Round Table on Early girl Child Marriages in Karnataka’, organized by CRY on Thursday.

While 29% of the girls faced broken marriages or divorce, the girls who were married off before they turned 14 fared worse – 47% of them had broken marriages.

The lack of education and patriarchal set ups were found to be main reasons why young girls were pushed into the practice. 15% never went to schools and for 49% of them, access to high schools due to long distances were major roadblocks.

“Girl children are forced to play the roles of adult women at a very early age. By taking up motherhood at such a young age, they face high risk delivery and complications. Hence, school is the only safe place for girl children and education is the key to break the vicious cycle of poverty-caste- patriarchy-denial of education-child marriage,” said Suma Ravi, Regional Director of CRY (South).

Her statement is substantiated by startling numbers - 82% of the young girls were found to be class 10 dropouts and 91% of these dropouts were married off before they turned 16. Further, 29% of the husbands of all respondents were uneducated.

“Patriarchy and caste create a very unjust and unequal environment for the girl child, leading towards forced girl child marriages. This is perpetuated by traditions, beliefs and customs, and becomes a socially accepted norm,” CRY said in a press release.

Over time, customs like Yaadi-mei-shaadi (where the wedding happens, after which the husband takes the minor to his home, all in a day), Gujjar marriages (where marriage is a monetary transaction and the girl’s family receives money based on the girl’s beauty) and mass marriages have come up in north Karnataka, aggravating circumstances for girl children.

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