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Nina’s story. “They made me marry when I was 15”…

According to UN data, there are 650 million women in the world today who are married before they are 18 years old. One of those women is also our interlocutor, 40-year-old Nina, whose parents made her marry at the age of 15 … She says – “ It was not that forcing her to get married, I just didn’t understand anything, I grew up in an atmosphere of barriers from childhood and marriage seemed a way to get rid of them …

 

I was born and raised in Uzbekistan, an Armenian family. My mother would take me to school, wait until my classes were over, and bring me home. When I turned 10, I was allowed to go out alone, play outside with my peers, something my brother could do, but I was not always arguing and crying, I didn’t understand the reason. The music school was also specially selected, where boys did little to study. I was very upset, crying, not accepting those restrictions.

 

It was 1994 when my parents decided to send me to our distant relative’s home in Yerevan. I fell in love with Yerevan, worshiped all the members of that family, went with them to Sevan, Tsakhkadzor, Garni, Tatev. Here I had the freedom to go out whenever I wanted, go for a walk, visit my neighbors, something I was always forbidden. Armenia seemed like a land of dreams to me, I didn’t want to go back to our home…

 

Upon my return, our relative called my mother and said that their neighbor liked me, a modest, beautiful, and well-educated girl, and they wanted to ask for my hand for their 19-year-old son, especially as the boy said he had fallen in love with me.

 

I was very happy, I will always live in that free and beautiful country, I thought. In Uzbekistan, I often saw girls of my age getting married, and I didn’t think it was right for me to grow up and get an education. Life was careless for me, everything was possible in Yerevan and I was very happy, very happy…

 

A year after this conversation, when I was 15, I got married. We had a great wedding, dressed in a beautiful bride. On that day, my mother was trying to tell me something about my marriage, but I didn’t even hear. I thought I was in a fairy tale, I imagined myself in the role of Cinderella. But the tale broke a few hours later when I wanted to dance, and my husband grasped my hand.

 

I made friends with my mother-in-law or rather I accepted her instead of my mother. She became my everything, friend, counselor, doctor, psychologist. And with my husband we didn’t understand each other, he was rude, intolerant, and I cried and struggled to get his rudeness, pushing me often, drinking often, he has raised a hand, a few betrayals … Well now it’s kind of common, we live, we have kids. I have nothing in my life, no education, no profession to find a decent job … I feel like a not accomplished person … I just enjoy having good kids, I live with them and believe they will have the best future … I am so happy that today my 23-year-old daughter has chosen her profession, lives without restrictive stereotypes, and most importantly, will soon marry her beloved man…

 

“Until 2030 Completely End Child Marriages”

 

Today, about 10 million girls worldwide are forced to marry under the age of 18, though according to the United Nations Children’s Fund, the number of marriages under 18 has fallen by 15 percent in the last ten years.

 

In most countries, the minimum marriage rate for girls is 18, but in more than 100 countries, laws allow marriage to be under 18. Juvenile marriages violate the rights of children, deprive them of their childhood and should be recognized as one of the forms of slavery, – such is the position of the international community in child marriages.

 

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has consistently fought against child marriages, reminding that early marriages of girls lead to early pregnancy, childbirth and maternity until they are physiologically and spiritually ready for it. In addition, there is an increased risk of sexual abuse by spouses. Early marriages also hamper education and occupation. Even the lack of basic knowledge did not allow the girl to gain a personal source of income and independence.

 

The Family Code of Armenia sets the same marriage age for both men and women as 18 years (before 2012 the marriage was 17 for women and 18 for men). The 2012 amendments to the legislation were conditioned both by the requirement of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and by the fact that the 10-year school system would become 12-year-old in the education system.

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