#Article (Archive)

Forced marriage

Apr 18, 2012, 2:23 PM

The practice of forced marriage still exists in many parts of The Gambia, particularly in the rural areas.

However, the practice is not as widespread as years back, thanks to the awareness being created by the activists, relevant government departments, and the media.

Forcing young boys and girls to get married at a time when they are not willing to do so must stop now.

The practice is a form of domestic violence and abuse of the rights of the young boys and girls by their families.

Marriage being a social contract and by mutual agreement, such a development between two partners should not be imposed, but by choice.

In some cases, we have seen in this country people who do not know each other; or someone they don’t like or have never even met; and sometimes they are too young to get married, all being forced to marry.

Some parents are in the habit of either fooling their children, especially girls about travelling to Europe to meet their new husbands or to get new things in life.

If such girls refused, sometime they may be subjected to physically torture or family malice.

Still we understand that many young people, both boys and girls, are forced into marriage against their will, and it must stop.

Forced marriage has a lot of effects on both partners, and we have seen how some of them could lead to many individuals ending up depressed, self-harming or, in the worst cases, even attempting suicide.

Such practices would make partners then feeling that they no longer have control over their own lives, which should not have been the case.

Everyone must be free to choose his or her partner, without force or interference, since marriage without love would not be enjoyable.