“I Married Both My Daughters Off to Pay My Debts”: A Simple, Shocking Reason for Child Marriage (Video)


Most of us know that life for women—and girls—in many countries is extremely restricted, whether because of their society’s culture, poverty, or both. But it’s one thing to know that in the abstract, and another to see exactly how those things directly and irrevocably affect young women and girls.

The video below shows how some girls (12 and even younger) in Yemen are treated like cash-money for their indebted parents—sold off to much older men as wives for their dowry, which is used by their families to pay off debts. The psychological and physical ramifications (really interesting detail here about how these girls’ bodies are at risk during pregnancy) are felt for the rest of these child bride’s lives.

Want to do something about the issue of child marriage? Check out Human Rights Watch’s page on the subject and sign their petition encouraging the Yemeni government to pass laws for 18 to be the minimum age of marriage. 

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Starre Vartan

Starre Vartan has been covering eco fashion, natural beauty, ethical travel, and sustainable design for over a decade. She's written for magazines (Whole Living, Metropolis) and online (Huffington Post, MNN, Elle.com, Inhabitat) and she has been honored as a thought leader by Glamour and Self magazines, as well as quoted in the New York Times (thrice). She's the author of "The Eco Chick Guide to Life: How to Be Fabulously Green" (St. Martin's Press) which was based on her longrunning blog, Eco-Chick.com. Starre was born Down Under in Sydney, Australia and has dual citizenship with the United States, as she grew up and was educated in the Hudson Valley of New York. She has a Bachelors of Science degree in Geology from Syracuse University and a Master of Fine Arts in Nonfiction writing from Columbia University. She splits her time between the Connecticut coast and Manhattan and loves to read, hike, snowboard, horseback ride, travel, and she will swim in almost anything (from lake to sea, cenote to mountain swimming hole).