Short Film Series Highlights the Horrors of the Child-Bride Phenomena

In a gut-wrenching series of short films and photographs that document the lives of young women forced into marriage, “Too Young to Wed” explores the frightening lives of young women beyond the veil of marriage. Compiled by Pulitzer and World Press Photo award winning photographer Stephanie Sinclair, the series travels across Asia, Africa and the Middle East, where the practice of marrying off under-age girls is commonplace, used to pay off debts, cement family alliances and, in the most direct of situations, used to rid a struggling family of the burden of feeling hungry mouths.

The series, now open at the Bronx Documentary Center, follows three child-brides: Tehani, a six year old living in Yemen married to a 25-year-old husband; Jamila, a 15-year-old Afghani girl wed to a 35-year-old man and Debitu, who was married off at the age of 14. Sinclair’s idea was born in Afghanistan in 2003, while was researching a story on women who set themselves on fire. She found that of the women who did resort to burning to death, most were married off at a prepubescent age.

On display through March 16, “Too Young to Wed” makes available the horrors of prepubescent girls auctioned off to husbands twenty, some times thirty, years their senior. In an interview with New York Daily News Sinclair says, “I’ve met, now, dozens of girls who have had this been their life, and it’s really been moving. We can’t control what situation we’re born into. Who is to say that couldn’tve been us?”

The program can be found online where donations and action can be made to end the child-bride phenomena.

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