#Article (Archive)

Forced marriage

Dec 30, 2011, 1:39 PM

Forced marriage is wrong, and cannot be justified on any religious or cultural basis.

Yet it still exists in The Gambia, though not as was the case decades ago.

We see in some parts of the rural Gambia young girls being forced to marry at their disapproval.

They are forced, usually their families, to provide them with unfulfilled promises in most cases.

People forced into marriage may be tricked into going abroad, physically threatened and or emotionally blackmailed to do so.

When someone is forced into marriage to someone he or she does not love, the person feels that they no longer have control over their own lives.

Consequently, many individuals end up depressed, self-harming or, in the worst cases, even attempting to commit suicide.

Living a life you do not want can often seem worse than not living at all.

We must think about this, and do something practical to uplift their living conditions.

No parent or family member has the right to force someone to marry.

Young boys and girls must be free to choose their own partners, without any one forcing them to do so.

No preconditions should be set for anyone choosing a partner.

Forced marriage must end now!

We, therefore, call on our local authorities to make more efforts in eradicating forced marriage, as well as early marriage, in their localities.

These are harmful cultural practices, and are not in the best interest of the girl-child.