RAYA Omar, a divorced mother of three, has just turned 18, but she has nothing to celebrate. She was forcibly married at age 14 to a man who was 14 years her senior.
“I never went to school and was forced to get married. I resisted but could not get support from my family members,” she says. “I have nothing to celebrate. I am divorced, jobless and can’t care for my children. I had unstable marriage,” she adds.
Raya revealed her ordeal to journalists who were attending a training workshop on how media can help to raise awareness of child marriages through reporting. She now wants to go to school to learn reading and writing.
Raya, who lives with her parents, is one of the many Zanzibar girls who are victims of child marriages. Human rights activists say child marriage is still “a serious problem” in the islands. They say although the campaign against underage marriages has been increasing, the act is embedded in Islam. Continue reading…