Child Marriage Kills 70,000 Girls Every Year

Over the past few weeks child marriage has received major media attention due to the death of 14 year old Memory Machaya, who died under cruel conditions during childbirth. It's unfortunate that it takes stories like this to finally get people talking and listening and what many do not realize is that Memory's story is not an isolated incident; she is one of 70,000 child brides who will die as a result of pregnancy and childbirth complications this year.

Child marriage robs young girls of so much - their childhood, their education, their future and sometimes their lives. With girls often being married to much older men physical and sexual abuse is typically the norm. These girls' lives go from being kids with few worries in the world to having to be dutiful wives, and part of their expected duties is to give their husbands (pronounced pedophiles) children.

Girls who give birth before the age of 15 are five times more likely to die during childbirth than women in their 20s. At that age girls' bodies are simply not developed enough to handle pregnancy or childbirth and it can cause serious complications that can result in death or, for those who do survive, major health problems for the rest of their lives.

While it is great that the issue of child marriage is finally getting the attention it deserves and more people are becoming aware of its atrocities, it's unfortunate that it takes stories such as Memory's getting out for people to wake up, and even more unfortunate is the number of these stories that we have not even heard about. Little girls are dying at the hands of their predators every day and what Memory's story shows is that, even with anti child marriage laws in place, our communities continue to turn a blind eye to these children's suffering.

The way people have come together and the action that has been taken over the past few weeks has been amazing but the fight against child marriage is still far from over; every year there are 12 million more Memory Machayas out there becoming child brides who do not have a voice and we need to speak up for them. This battle can only be won if we continue to fight together, and we hope that everyone speaking out now continues on this journey even after the headlines fade.

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