Child marriage must be abolished


Bangladesh has once again hit rock bottom by winning the disgraceful distinction of having the highest rate of girl child abuse in South Asia, according to Unicef. The Unicef report has merely highlighted what the media, women's organisations and conscious sectors of the society have long been protesting against. But what has the government done? Has it forgotten this shameful state of affairs?

A large section of girl children are victims of child marriage. They leave their parents' homes to enter married life when they are neither developed physically not mentally. That is when the abuse begins. One in every two of these girls is sexually abused by their husbands or their partners.

There is a law against child marriage in this country, but it is not enforced. If child marriage could be prevented, there is no doubt that abuse of the girl child would be reduced significantly.

The leaders of society often knowingly indulge in child marriage. Families, social organisations and political organisation find it prudent to remain silent on the issue of girl child abuse. This encourages the abusers. The police also display no sympathy for the victims.

All this forces the girl victims to repress themselves into silence. This tragic and harsh reality is reflected in the title of the Unicef report: Hidden in Plain Sight.

We must rectify the situation. First of all the state, the society and the guardians must change their mindset. This can give the girls a good life and build a healthy society.

When a country fails to ensure the rule of law, accountability and sound policies, it is then that such abuse increases alarmingly along with other social perversions.

If the problem is to be uprooted, the law must be strictly implemented and the violators must be sternly punished.

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