About 50 million Ethiopian girls are subject to arranged marriages with older men. Child brides in Ethiopia and Amharaland are representing a lost
generation of children who are subject to lives of isolation and trauma. Millions of girls are confined to their husband's homes, left out of school,
subject to severe beatings and condemned to lives of ignorance and poverty.
There are, according to child-rights activists, an estimated 50 million Tihuns scattered across the world: young teen or even preteen girls whose
innocence is being sacrificed to arranged marriages, often with older men.
Coerced by family and culture into lives of servility and isolation, and scarred by the trauma of too-early pregnancy, child brides represent a vast,
lost generation of children.
The most brutal toll is medical: Early pregnancies are the leading cause of death for girls age 15 to 19 in the developing world, according to the
United Nations. And medical relief groups believe that at least 2 million women worldwide are living with gruesome vaginal and anal ruptures, called
fistulas, that result from bearing children much too young. Untreated fistulas can be fatal, and survivors are usually left incontinent for life.
Amharaland has the highest child marriage rates in the world, according to U.N. and Ethiopian statistics; in some dusty corners of the ancient
highlands, almost 90 percent of the local girls are married before age 15.
And the powerful Ethiopian Orthodox Church has long played a role in early matchmaking. Church teachings traditionally encouraged marriage before age
15, declaring that this was the age of the Virgin Mary at the Immaculate Conception of Christ.
Tragically, the infection rates of child brides in Africa are pumped even higher by the spreading folk belief that sex with virgin girls can cure
AIDS. In Ethiopia, according to the United Nations, 6 out of 10 new HIV cases are found in women and girls younger than 24.
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This is by far one of the worst stories of modern brutality I've ever read in my life. Talk about the difference between living in this country
compared to other under developed countries where who knows what's happening. The facts surrounding this story are shocking: 50 million young girls
subjected to horrific lives of brutality beyond any degree imaginable. It's literally nerve-wrecking information to read or hear about. I don't know
which degree of brutality I would pick if I had to choose. Which one would you choose: marrying a older man at the age of seven; being confined to the
home of your husband and being subject to severe beatings; being pried away from school and condemned to a life of ignorance and poverty; or being
subject to early pregnancy, the risk of AIDS, and gruesome ruptures called fistulas. But millions of young Ethiopian girls are being subject to it
all. These are inhumane acts being conducted and nothing is being done about it. These children are suffering in silence because they're just kids and
they don't speak out. Every word this story continues to make me sick to my stomach. Especially when I read the paragraph about the Ethiopian Church
where the priests actually bless early marriages. The ignorance of the Ethopian land is magnified by the fact that they believe sex with virgin girls
can cure AIDS.