In late February 2013, a 40 year-old man was charged with the statutory rape of a 13 year-old girl in the Sabah region of Malaysia. It was later reported that the man had taken the 13 year-old girl as a second wife with consent of both his first wife and the parents of the girl in question. The case has generated much media attention in Malaysia.
“Through early marriage, the rights of a child victim to health (emotional, physical, psychological), education and protection are seriously compromised,” stated the Malaysian Child Rights Coalition, which includes Girls Not Brides member organisations Voice of the Children, Malaysian Child Resource Institute (MCRI) and Protect and Save the Children, in response to the case.
“Where traditional practices are concerned, they must not supersede the rights of the child,” added the Coalition.
In the time it has taken to read this article 12 girls under the age of 18 have been married
Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18
That is 23 girls every minute
Nearly 1 every 2 seconds