Throughout the world, millions of girls are being married off while they are still children. And this happens most in the developing world. The practice of child marriage extends across varied cultures and each child bride has her own unique story. Yet those who have suffered the humiliation that accompanies this strange ritual share a common thread that surpasses circumstances, cultures, countries, and continents.
In a recent incident that portrays the catastrophic consequences of sexual activity at a young age, an eight-year-old bride has died in Yemen of internal bleeding sustained during her wedding night after being forced to marry a man five times her age.
Ghulam, aged 11, is married to Faiz who is 40 years old. Ghulam does not remember when she got married. She was too young then. She was married to her husband who is much older than her on September 11, 2005, her only fault being that she was brought up in Afghanistan.
Ghulam, in this picture, is shown offering prayers so that her impending marriage to Faiz is called off.
Tahani (in pink) was just six years old when she was married to Majed, 25 (standing next to her). The young wife posed for this portrait with former classmate Ghada, also a child bride, outside their mountain home in Hajjah, Yemen. The most common notion that it is as an appropriate way for a young woman to grow up when the alternative is the risk she loses her virginity to someone before she marries.
In a remote village of Rajasthan, Sarita was married at the age of 15. She is seen covered in tears and sweat before she is sent to her new home in Rajasthan. Wide-eyed and haunted, the heart-breaking expression on this young girl’s face hints at innocence cruelly snatched away.
16-year-old Sumeena Shreshtha Balmi from Nepal leaving her maiden house post marriage. Wide-eyed and haunted, the heart-breaking expression on this young girl’s face hints at innocence cruelly snatched away.
This is a picture of 7 young brides outside Al Hudaydah in Yemen in 2010.
Priest Addisu Abebe, 23, and his new bride Destaye Amare, 11, are married in a traditional Ethiopian orthodox wedding in the rural areas outside the city of Gondar, Ethiopia.
Shocking: Portrait of Said, 55, with Roshan, 8, posing after their marriage in Afghanistan.
A shocking picture of child marriage: A 14-year-old girl who is already the mother of two children bathes her younger child in Hajjah, while her two-year-old daughter plays.
Shocking tale of a victim of child marriage in Sana’a (capital of Yemen): Nujood Ali was only 10 years old when she was married. She became pregnant at the age of 14.
Tired of daily physical abuse meted out to her by her husband, Nujood Ali fled her abusive, much older husband when she was seven months pregnant and took a taxi to the courthouse in Sana’a, Yemen. The girl’s courageous act and the landmark legal battle that followed turned her into an international heroine for women’s rights. Now divorced, she is back home with her family and attending school again.
Ghastly tale of an abusive husband: Police woman arrests 35-year-old Janan after he tried to kill his 15-year-old Jamila. His wife had been a victim of domestic abuse for the past many years.
Newly wedded: Maya, 8, and Kishore, 13, pose for their wedding photo inside their new home after their marriage in Rajasthan, India.
In Rajgarh, a remote area in Madhya Pradesh, Pappy is seen standing with her newly wedded husband Maangilal Tiwari, both being victims of child marriage.
Pictures of Child Brides