A video showing a young girl of 11 getting married to a 22-year-old grown up man has drawn new attention. This incident took place in rural Iran. Iranians believe that the practice is now in decline. But it sure looks like it is still common in some rural parts of the country.
Under-age but happy
The video shows a wedding that took place on 26th of August in Bahmaei, an impoverished district of Iran. The bride and groom are sitting together, they are seen hugging each other and look rather jovial. The Mullah conducting the ceremony asked the bride “Fatima, do you agree to marry Milad Jashani?”, since according to Islamic sharia bride and groom must both assent loud and clear. The bride replies: “With my parents’ permission, yes.”
Civil Code disregarded
Iran’s Civil Code sets the legal age of marriage for girls as 13 and for boys as 15 with their parents’ consent. The footage when posted on social media and telecasted on TV leading to widespread fury and rage among the masses. Two days post, the marriage was annulled and accused the girl’s parents and the mullah for allowing an illegal underage marriage. If parents want to marry off a child who is underage according to what the Civil Code states, they can ask a judge to declare them “intellectually mature” enough for marriage.
According to an anonymous researcher, to test the maturity, the judge usually holds up a banknote and asks the child how much the note is worth. In other cases, the children are asked to name the president of the country.
More child marriages than we think
There are at least 40,000 marriages a year in which at least one of the partners is under 15- and this is only the number of marriages that get registered. Underage marriages have gone up in recent years, though only by a small margin. It is more common in rural areas. It is mostly the bride who is underage. And according to research, child brides in a lot of cases face domestic violence and consequently become prey to severe psychological disorders.