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Sri Lankan Child Bride Opens Up About Horror Marriage

She was forced to marry a man when she was just 15

A young Sri Lankan woman has spoken out about the horrors of being forced into marriage when she was just 15.

In an interview with the BBC, Shafa explained that she had fallen in love when she was a schoolgirl.

“While studying for exams, I fell in love with a boy,” she recounted

“My parents did not like it. They sent me to my uncle’s place. While I was studying there, a regular visitor told my aunt and uncle that he wanted to marry me,” she said.

Although the legal age for marriage is 18 in Sri Lanka, younger Muslim girls are allowed to marry under the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act.

Young Shafa was beaten when she expressed her objection to the marriage and took desperate measures to escape the union.

“I cut my arms as there was no other option,” she recounts. “I also took some pills from my uncle’s place.

“While I was being treated in hospital, they bribed the doctors and took me – together with my saline bottle – to a private hospital. A few days later they forced me to marry that man.”

During the marriage, Shafa was beaten and was thrown to the floor when she told her husband she was pregnant.

“He then told me that he only wanted me for the one night, he’d already had me and didn’t need me any more,” she recalls.

 Shafa miscarried as a result of the trauma. She later received abusive texts and calls from other men in the village after her husband shared her contact number on social media.

Although her father has refused to get involved, Shafa’s mother helped her find psychological and legal help at a social welfare centre. 

But there are many girls that know Shafa’s experience all too well. 

Girls Not Brides reports 2 percent of children are married by age 15 and 12 percent by 18.  

To contact Kids Helpline call 1800 55 1800

RELATED: Child Bride Problem Is Rife In Australia

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