Child marriage is moot – tackle child abuse

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There has been a lot of discussion on abuse allegations in homes for child. This even resulted in the comparison between child abuse in homes and child marriages.

Child marriage was common in several countries due to many factors, be they social, economic, traditional or demographic.

In Trinidad and Tobago, this changed on June 9, 2017 with the passing of an amendment to the Miscellaneous Provisions (Marriage) Act, No 8 that established the legal age for marriage as 18.

The contribution of the Hindu Women’s Organisation, in collaboration with other groups, led to this legal achievement through advocating for the rights of women and girls.

Since it is not legally possible for children under the age of 18 to be married in TT, any discussion on child marriage and its merits or demerits is moot and misguided, because our laws forbid it.

What should be of major concern and the focus of all of our attention are the reports of abuse in children’s homes, which have nothing to do with marriage at any age. This is a distinct matter that requires action by all concerned citizens

Child abuse in homes, and child abuse in general, is something everyone should speak about, pay attention to and act to prevent. Children need to be protected, cared for, loved and given right and positive attention.

Regarding abuse in children’s homes, some of the factors which got us to this crisis are: untrained staff at all levels, lack of financial support and uninvolved parents.

Many hands are already on deck and many hearts are bleeding. Let this issue not paralyse us but cause us to spring into action for the sake of our future generations.

KAMLA TEWARIE
Hindu Women’s Organisation