UNICEF, in collaboration with wedding blog Bridal Musings, unveiled a disturbing and powerful new video (below) to spread awareness about child marriage.
In the video, a young girl, Lily, is seen on her wedding day getting ready to marry 35-year-old John. Lily, 11, is wearing a wedding dress, while those around her smile and hug as if it’s a real wedding. Behind the seemingly happy, fairytale wedding was a disturbing truth -- child marriage is common in countries throughout the world.
“The sad truth is that a girl who is married as a child is more likely to be out of school, experience domestic violence, and become infected with HIV/AIDS,” UNICEF and Bridal Musings wrote of the realities of child marriage.
“She is more likely to have children when she herself is still a child, and is far more likely to die due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth.”
Popular VideoThis young teenage singer was shocked when Keith Urban invited her on stage at his concert. A few moments later, he made her wildest dreams come true.
When the video went viral, a woman from Niger shared a story of a girl who fell victim to a forced marriage -- something common in the African country, which has the highest rate of child marriages worldwide.
Salmey Bebert shared the story of 10-year-old Samia in an article for Mashable.
“Samia was repeatedly physically and sexually assaulted by her husband," she wrote. "When she wasn't being abused, her mother-in-law forced her to work. Often she was left to sleep outside, alone, without being fed. At age 14, Samia became pregnant but delivered a stillborn baby. After spending days in hospital, she was determined to start a new life. Once back with her husband, Samia secretly planted and sold groundnuts, eventually scraping together $10. One night she left the house, bought a bus ticket and traveled to her aunt's village. Samia never returned.”
Now, at 18 years old, Samia is a vocal member of a women’s support group for domestic violence survivors.
Popular VideoThis young teenage singer was shocked when Keith Urban invited her on stage at his concert. A few moments later, he made her wildest dreams come true:
“My goal now is to become a tailor, have a sewing machine and sewing kit and work for myself, truly be autonomous,” Samia said. “When a woman doesn't have any financial resources, she depends on a man. I don't want ever again to have to depend on a man, neither my father nor a husband."
Watch the UNICEF video below.