Today is the first-ever International Day of the Girl, so in honor of the occasion, here is a post by Rachel Kassenbrock for Ms. Magazine on child marriage:
Alemnesh was seven years old, living in Amhara, Ethiopia, when her family secured for her a marriage to a much older man. She was expected to drop out of school and take on the burden of household responsibilities. In this new life, Alemnesh would never learn to read or write. She would likely be sexually exploited at a young age and, vulnerable and disempowered, and[sic] she would never have appropriate access to information about sexual and reproductive health. This could have led to early pregnancy and obstetric complications, the leading cause of death among girls aged 15 to 19.