The Christian Broadcasting Network

Browse Videos

Share Email

India's Innocent: Secret Weddings of Child Brides

In India, marrying off a daughter means one less mouth to feed, which is why children are forced to illegally marry very young. CBN News was there for one ceremony. Read Transcript


Reporter: ROGERSTAN IS

THE EPICENTER OF INDIA'S

CHILD MARRIAGE.

MORE THAN HALF OF THE GIRLS

BORN IN THIS STATE BECOME

CHILD BRIDES BEFORE THE AGE

OF 15.

THE LIFE OF A CHILD BRIDE

IS VERY SAD.

Reporter: PREMDABI IS

STUDYING ITS IMPACT ON

INDIAN SOCIETY.

THE MOMENT SHE GETS

MARRIED FROM A PHYSICAL

MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL

PERSPECTIVE, HER LIFE

BECOMES VERY CHALLENGING.

Reporter: MOST OF

INDIA'S POOR LIVES ON $1 A

DAY, SO MARRYING OFF A

DAUGHTER MEANS ONE LESS

MOUTH TO FEED.

GIRLS ARE SEEN AS A

LIBILIT -- LIABILITY AND

BURDEN.

THE LONGER THEY WAIT TO GET

THE GIRL MARRIED OFF, THE

MORE THEY'LL HAVE TO PAY THE

FUTURE IN-LAWS.

Reporter: APRIL AND MAY

ARE POPULAR MONTHS FOR

MARRIAGES IN ROGERSTAN.

AND THEY WILL HOLD THOUSANDS

OF CEREMONIES.

THE MAJORITIES BETWEEN

MINOR.

YOU WILL SEE PARENTS

HOLDING THEIR CHILDREN, AS

YOUNG AS FOUR OR FIVE YEARS

OLD, IN THEIR MAP AS THEY

GET MARRIED.

Reporter: INDIA HAD

LAWS AGAINST CHILD MARRIAGE

IN 1929, AND BACK THEN THE

LEGAL AGE FOR MARRIAGE WAS

SET AT 12.

IT WAS EVENTUALLY INCREASED

TO 18 YEARS OLD IN 1978.

TO EVADE THE LAW, FAMILIES

WILL OFTEN PERFORM MARRIAGES

IN SECRET, USUALLY LATE AT

NIGHT.

IT'S SHORTLY AFTER 9:00 IN

THE EVENING, VERY, VERY BUSY

STREETS, AS YOU CAN SEE.

BUT WHERE WE'RE GOING IS

INTO THE INTERIOR VILLAGES

OF THIS PART OF ROGERSTAN.

OUTSIDERS ARE RARELY ALLOWED

TO ATTEND THESE CEREMONIES,

LET ALONE FILM THEM.

HER PARENTS MADE AN

EXCEPTION, GIVING US

PERMISSION TO FILM THEIR

SON, BUT ONLY THE NIGHT

BEFORE HIS WEDDING.

I AM BECOMING A MAN

TOMORROW.

Reporter: HIS PARENTS

INSIST THAT HE IS 21, BUT

HIS FRIENDS TOLD US

OFF-CAMERA, HE IS ONLY 10.

HIS YOUNG FACE COVERED IN

TRADITIONAL MAKEUP.

HE WEARS A SPECIAL SUIT WITH

FLASHING COLORED LIGHTS.

I WANT THE YOUNGSTERS IN

MY VILLAGE TO FOLLOW MY

EXAMPLE.

Reporter: THE WHOLE

VILLAGE SPENDS THE NIGHT

BEFORE THE WEDDING, DRINKING

AND DANCING.

UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF

ALCOHOL, THESE DANCE

FESTIVALS BECOME SEXUALLY

CHARGED, AND OFTEN YOU SEE

YOUNG GIRLS AND BOYS

FOLLOWING.

Reporter: OUR TEAM IS

NOT ALLOWED TO FILM BATEL'S

BRIDE, WHO IS SAID TO BE

EIGHT OR NINE YEARS OLD.

FAMILIES KNOW WHAT

THEY'RE DOING IS NOT RIGHT,

BUT BECAUSE OF CULTURAL AND

ECONOMIC REASONS, THE

PARENTS WILL MARRY THEIR

CHILDREN OFF AT A YOUNG

AGE.

Reporter: CBN NEWS IS

ALLOWED, HOWEVER, TO FILM

VENA'S WEDDING.

HERS IS DIFFERENT.

IT TAKES PLACE DURING THE

DAY, WHICH IS VERY

UNCOMMON.

WE HAVE BEEN PREPARING

FOR THIS WEDDING FOR NEARLY

A YEAR.

I HAVE INVITED THE ENTIRE

VILLAGE TO COME FOR THIS

HAPPY OCCASION.

Reporter: BUT VENA IS

ANYTHING BUT HAPPY.

IN BETWEEN COMBING HER HAIR

AND PUTTING ON JEWELRY, SHE

SOBS UNCONTROLLABLY.

THE FAMILY TRIES TO CONSOLE

HER.

WE TRY TO ASK HER WHY SHE IS

CRYING.

WHY IS SHE SAD?

[SPEAKING A

FOREIGN LANGUAGE]

Reporter: SHE REFUSES

TO TALK.

SHE HAS NO IDEA WHAT IT

MEANS TO BE A WIFE, HOW TO

TAKE CARE OF HER FAMILY.

BUT BECAUSE THIS HAS BEEN

FORCED UPON HER, SHE HAS TO

GO ALONG WITH IT.

I THINK SHE IS A LITTLE

SCARED.

Reporter: VENA'S FAMILY

INSISTED SHE IS 18, BUT SHE

LOOKS SEVEN OR EIGHT.

I ALSO GOT MARRIED WHEN I

WAS VERY YOUNG.

SHE WILL ADJUST.

Reporter: INDIA IS ONLY

ONE OF MANY COUNTRIES WHERE

CHILD MARRIAGE IS THRIVING.

EACH YEAR SOME 10 MILLION

GIRLS ARE MARRIED BEFORE

THEY TURN 18.

THE PRACTICE IS MOST COMMON

IN AFRICA, THE MIDDLE EAST,

AND SOUTH ASIA.

THE GIRL IS MARRIED AND

THEN MOVERS IN WITH HER

HUSBAND'S FAMILY.

SHE IS NOT ALLOWED TO GO TO

SCHOOL TO GET AN EDUCATION.

AS SOON AS SHE REACHES

PUBERTY, SHE IS EXPECTED TO

HAVE CHILDREN.

Reporter: AND THE

RIPPLE EFFECTS ARE

DEVASTATING.

REACH SHOWS THAT GIRL BRIDES

ARE MORE LIKELY TO LOSE

THEIR CHILD BEFORE IT IS

BORN, BE INFECTED WITH

H.I.V., HAVE THREE OR MORE

BIRTHS, AND UNDERGO MULTIPLE

ABORTIONS.

BACK IN THE VILLAGE, VENA'S

SOON TO BE HUSBAND ARRIVES

IN A BUS WITH HIS SIDE OF

THE FAMILY.

WEARING A SPECIAL CROWN WITH

FLASHING LIGHTS, HE JOINS A

RECESSION OF VILLAGERS

MAKING THEIR WAY TO THE

BRIDE'S HOME.

HIS FACE IS PARTIALLY

COLORED BY A MASK HE WILL

WEAR UNTIL THE CEREMONY IS

OVER.

HE, TOO, LOOKS VERY YOUNG,

BUT HIS FAMILY INSISTS HE IS

ABOUT THE LEGAL AGE OF

MARRIAGE.

I AM READY TO BE A

HUSBAND.

Reporter: VENA IS

FINALLY READY TO MAKE HER

APPEARANCE, BUT INSTEAD OF

OF WALKING DOWN THE FAMILY

COURTYARD WHERE GETS ARE

AWAITING, SHE HAS TO BE

CARRIED IN BY HER FATHER.

SHE IS OVERCOME WITH

EXHAUTION.

SHE SOBS THROUGH THE

TWO-HOUR CEREMONY.

IT IS HEARTBREAKING TO

WATCH.

THESE ARE CHILDREN, LITTLE

CHILDREN, GETTING MARRIED.

Reporter: GEORGE

THOMAS, CBN NEWS, ROGERSTAN,

INDIA.

EMBED THIS VIDEO


Log in or create an account to post a comment.  

CBN.com | Do You Know Jesus? | Privacy Notice | Prayer Requests | Support CBN | Contact Us | Feedback
© 2012 Christian Broadcasting Network