Child Marriage and Mental Health Issues

BY GABRIELA DEL POZO, THE SUNDAY TIMES (Expository/opinion)

The Commission on the Status of Women has prioritized riding out the storm of war. The room is clearly segregated and there is only a glimmer of hope for binding the wounds of division. There is currently a schism between diplomats who advocate for women’s rights and those who support more conservative policies. Still, one creed is permanent: respect sovereignty. The representative of the Russian Federation has even said that other countries need to stop imposing Western values and views to other cultures. The Russian Federation is working mostly with Middle Eastern countries who want their principles of sovereignty to be respected.

At the United Nations it is expected that countries respect the principle of sovereignty. Governments accept the principle that they should be held accountable to their own people and not foreign powers as a self-evident truth. When do we make the decision to limit culture and tradition?

One cultural practice that should clearly be limited is child marriage. A child who has been exposed to this sort of experiences almost certainly experience some sort of psychological trauma. In such cases, the United Nations must wipe the world of such violent abuses and fight to preserve the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Child marriage causes a myriad of long-term events like psychological trauma, anxiety, depression and drug dependency. Dr Yann Le Strat conducted a study on this subject and found that “many women who participated in the study tend to feel as if their lives were great burdens, without even recognizing the knowing the cause for this feeling”. Furthermore, the disturbance does not end there, since entire families are impacted by this abuse. This means that the kids of those women may carry the repercussions of that forced marriage on their own body.

This goes beyond culture and even beyond tradition and is simply sexism. And a sign that patriarchies still need to fall. Hopefully this committee will be able to prevent these heinous occurrences.

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