Is child marriage the only solution to get rid of the problem of rape on young girls? In the recent series of rape cases in Haryana, girls have been blamed for such incidents and the members of the Haryana Panchyath have given a weird solution and suggested that the marriageable age for girls should be reduced from 18 to 16 years. Do you think this suggestion is fair?
A few decades ago, child marriage was a system where the parents of young girls (around 12 years) used to get their daughters married to boys who would be atleast 5 or 7 years elder to her. The traditional followers of child marriage system thought of daughters as burdens and believed that since a girl’s ultimate aim is to look after her husband and in laws and have babies, they should be married at the earliest so that they can start performing their duties.
They also thought that education would spoil a girl’s ability of being a traditional wife and mother and so they were against girl’s education. Also, as we all know “virginity” till marriage, is one of the most important and valued virtues in our Indian culture and so the parents of girls wanted to ensure that their daughters didn’t have any pre-marital sex. So, for all these reasons, child marriage was a prevalent act as it was seen as the only way to fix many problems. But, the problem is that the followers of this tradition never thought about what the young girls had to go through being forced to get married so early in life. They also had to have children at very young age, sometimes, at 13-14 years of age, when their bodies were not fully developed and it was life threatening too! I feel bad for the young boys too who were forced to get married at an early age of 15-16 years of age due to this tradition, as they too were forced to go through the similar psychogical and mental torture as the girls had to go through.
Well, all this was really old “rule book” and now in 21st century, our society has changed and so have the people and their thought processes. So, in today’s world, where we feel girls are enjoying the same rights as boys, it is shocking to hear “child marriage” being suggested as the only solution to get rid of rape and gang rape issues prevalent in our society. Instead of punishing the culprits, why are the movies, media and girls (Haryana) being targeted? I fail to understand this. The culprits, men who feel, they can get away with anything, are the ones who should be punished and punished so severly that it sets an example for everyone else out there thinking on those lines. That is the solution. But instead, as per sources, the panchayaths of Haryana think that girls should be married at the age of 16, so that they have their husbands to fulfill their desires. This is really depressing!
In a month, Haryana has seen more than eight gang rape cases. After Saturday’s issue of a Dalit girl allegedly raped in Jind district in Haryana, who committed suicide by setting herself on fire, the toll has increased from eight to nine in Haryana in the past 28 days and it is said that majority of these rapes took place in Jind district alone. As a result, the Haryana government has formed a committee of three-members to look into these incidents. I don’t know how far will this investigation go, but I am really unhappy with the panchayaths decision of “child marriage being the only solution to eradicate rape, abuse etc.” and really feel bad for the young girls.
Girls are very young and quite immature at the age of 16 and I feel at that tender age, they should be given love and support to continue education so that they understand what is right and what is wrong. They will then have an opportunity to even support their families financially and also be able to impart good education to their kids. They should be given opportunity to study, learn more about life and then work if they want to. We should all remember the famous saying by Dr. James Emmanuel, which goes like this – “if you educate a man, you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you educate a family (nation).”
Written byRajesh Shukla