Tuesday 2 December 2014

The trauma of Syria's married children

Maha is a 13-year-old Syrian refugee. At the age of 12 she was forced to marry her 23-year-old husband due to financial difficulties and fear of sexual assault. She is now one month pregnant. Due to her young age, her pregnancy is very weak. She hasn’t been in school since she was 10 years old.
"First of all, I didn't want to get married because I am too young, but my parents forced me to. Second of all, we heard about a lot of rape and kidnapping cases in Jordan. But no, not at all. I didn't want to get married. I am still young, and I wanted to finish my studies." says Maha.

Nadia and her sister Sama fled from their home in Damascus, and were married when they were 15 and 17 years old, in Amman where they currently live.
“I got married when I was 15 years old,” says Nadia, 16, “I was forced to marry because my family and I – ten people – were sharing a very small house with only two rooms… I was aspiring to become a doctor. I left school and didn’t finish my 11th year and came to Jordan. Everything got destroyed.”   
The sisters came with their family and their husbands family (their relatives) and due to cultural norms and financial constraints, the girls were married to their male cousins. Sama recently gave birth to her first child Ahmed.
"These girls, who by fleeing the war in Syria have already been subjected to more than any child should, are at extreme risk of mental health issues resulting from social isolation, stress and abuse," said Saba Al Mobaslat.
"Since I got married I don't feel anything," says Reem, 15, "I do feel sad when I see other girls from my neighbourhood going to school. Whenever I see a woman who has become a doctor or a lawyer or has finished her education I get upset."

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