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Innocence Lost

March 9, 2011

Guess what. Soon, it may be illegal to marry a child in Saudi Arabia. Here’s a really important question I am asking myself though. Why isn’t it illegal already?

In Saudi Arabia, young girls are often married off by their parents to much older men. According to a local social worker interviewed by Saudi daily Al-Riyadh, some 3,000 Saudi girls below the age of 13 were married off to men at least 25 years their senior. But Fawzia Al-Bakr, a sociologist at King Saud University in Riyadh, said this was likely to change soon.

One disturbing part about the article is the story about the 50-year-old man who agreed to divorce his nine-year-old bride only after receiving pressure from the United Nations and international media. Even more disturbing is the judge who “upheld the marriage so long as the husband didn’t consummate it until the girl reached puberty.”

Children do not have the maturity to understand these type of issues. They should be protected and not be robbed of their innocence. I sure hope Saudi Arabia’s government truly addresses this serious issue and puts a ban on child marriages.

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