Arranged Marriages And Its Effects In Afghanistan

2875 words - 12 pages

Imagine seeing a girl no older than eight years old, being forced into marriage to a man twice her age. For many girls around the world being forced into marriage to much older men is an everyday occurrence in their lives. The word “arranged” is not usually associated with the word “forced” but in cases like these the girls have no choice but to agree to marry. Arranged marriages are deeply imbedded into the cultures of some countries with girls being promised into marriage when they are as young as a month old and marrying before they reach maturity. About a third of the women married in developing countries are married before they were eighteen years of age. In Afghanistan, 43 percent of brides from 2000 to 2008 were married before the age of eighteen and the number has risen due to poverty and problems the country is facing (Norland and Rubin 1). In developing countries such as Yemen, India, and Afghanistan, the practice of early arranged marriages is outlawed in their countries’ constitutions. Any such marriages take place illegally or under the radar of the law (Gorney 1). Afghan women and girls are being forced into arranged marriages to settle things such as debt and to secure stable futures for themselves or their families. Often these girls are targets for physical and mental abuse with little or no way out. Therefore, there should be more Muslim organizations that dedicate themselves to the education of the Afghan people about the physical and emotional effects of forcing young girls into marriage and ways to improve the lives of Afghan girls.
In contrast to America, Afghanistan has so much cultural background wrapped into marriage. Who are Americans with our western views to question or judge Afghan culture or any other culture that practices arranged marriages? A way of thinking or doing things in a certain way is heavily influenced by a person’s surroundings or their culture; what Americans see as wrong can be a good or accepted thing in Afghan culture. Like snowflakes; no two cultures are exactly alike, and the farther away a culture is from another, the more one can see the differing of opinions and traditions. Even in America there are many conflicts because of all the different cultures and opinions on certain subjects, and the stigmas that surround a certain facet of a culture. It is because of these stigmas that many try to change a country’s culture. That being said, the main question to ask is this: Who is going to create these Muslim organizations? No one will want to change the viewpoint that is ingrained into Afghan culture; Afghanistan is a patriarchal society based on Islam. With the left over influence of the Taliban and their more radical idealism towards women, this poses a major problem of finding the people who would head and work for these organizations: men or women (Baker 3-4)? In addition, the locals might not react well to the organizations because they might feel as if the organizations are...

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