Consequences of early marriage

 The report, ‘Early marriage in Ethiopia: causes and consequences’ is very instructive:

“Early marriageis one of the most harmful practices as it usually denies girlseducational opportunities, leads to poverty and economicinsecurity and has a serious negative impact on their healthand decision-making capacities.It also reinforces other formsof gender-based violence and problems.”

Inability to read or write. The majority of the child wives have never gone to school, of left school before completing a full course of primary education, making them entirely dependent on their husbands in practical aspects of everyday life

Having many children, early.  This exposes the mother and her children to psychological and other health problems. 

HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STD). The over-riding desire to be a good wife in the eyes of family and husband prevents the child wife from negotiating for safer sex practices; thus exposing her to risk of acquiring HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Inability to plan or manage families. Because they are also children, young or immature mothers exercise lessinfluence and control over their children, and have less ability tomake decisions about their nutrition, health care and householdmanagement.

The next generation of child wives.  Children whose mothers were married early tend to marry early; thus creating generations of child wives.

Marital instability.  Because of the age differences and the attendant poor communication, many early marriages in early divorce or separation.

Physical and sexual abuse.  Out of fear of her parents and the social stigma as well as the poverty associated with being single; many child wives are compelled to remain in a loveless and violent marriage