21 November 2011
By Nihal Cizmecioglu, JTW
The International Strategic Research Organization (USAK) Center for Social Studies has prepared a report which found striking results named “Marriage or Playing House? Early and Forced Marriages: Child Brides.”
The report found that widespread media coverage has offered an insight into one of the major social problems of Turkey. According to the report, countries encountering the highest rates of child brides are West, East, and Central African countries and South Asian countries. Turkey comes second in countries considered European, with a 14% child marriage rate after Georgia whose rate is 17%. Ukraine, England, and France follow the list with their 10% rates.
The report indicated that “although exact numbers are impossible to reach, it’s estimated that every year in developing countries 10-12 million girls get forced into marriage.” Child marriage is a global problem all over the world, but in West, East, and Central African countries and South Asian countries rates are reaching very high levels; 75% in Niger, 72% in Chad, 66% in Bangladesh, etc.
Taking socio-economic assessments into consideration, the report underlined that in Turkey 16.9% of early marriages takes place in urban areas and 24.6% in rural areas, the number of married girls are 14 times higher than the number of married boys, roughly half of the people who were forced into early marriages are illiterate, etc.
USAK’s findings indicate that early marriages cannot just be explained by cultural factors or traditions and beliefs, stating that the practice is caused by a large number of factors that include socio-cultural factors, education, gender equality in society, as well as wars or natural disasters. The devastating results of early marriages in individuals and society are also stressed, some of which are maternal and child deaths, lack of education, exploitation and violence against women, etc.
USAK has stated it will share the report with relevant officials and policy makers.