12 million girls are married every year. That’s one girl every three seconds who is robbed of her childhood.
She’s at greater risk of violence, trapped in poverty, often pulled out of school, and she can be left with serious health complications or even face death due to early pregnancy.
World leaders have the power to take action and put an end to this. But right now they’re not doing enough. We need to tell them to act now.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit in September is a big moment for change. Governments from around the globe will come together to decide the future of our planet.
We can’t let them forget about girls.
That’s why we’re launching a new campaign that calls on world leaders to protect girls from child marriage.
Add your name to our petition. Call on world leaders to focus on child marriage at the SDG Summit, and to make public commitments on how they will implement and fund national action on child marriage.
"I asked my parents twice not to marry me, but they pressured me. I was upset. I want to study, I don’t want to get married."
Monika was moments away from being married at 13. On the day of her wedding, she made a decision: she was not going to become a child bride. She secretly borrowed a phone and called ChildLine as a last minute attempt to stop her wedding. Her call was answered by Preeti, who jumped into action with her team from the charity Urmul Trust. Preeti sped off on her motorbike, spoke to Monika’s parents and stopped the wedding just in time. Monika’s parents agreed to delay her marriage and Monika is hoping to go back to school.
Fortunately, Monika managed to escape marriage and focus on her future. But millions of girls like Monika aren’t so lucky. They need world leaders to stand up and protect them.
Show world leaders that you won’t tolerate violence against children like Monika. Use your voice to end child marriage, save girls’ lives and protect their futures.
Child Marriage and Child Sexual Abuse
One way we can get governments to sit up and take notice is by showing them that child marriage is a form of child sexual abuse. We know girls who are married before 18 are more likely to suffer from intimate partner violence, including sexual, physical, psychological and emotional violence.
Now we have the data to show governments where they need to act to address this. An Out Of The Shadows Index has been launched revealing new data on child sexual abuse – including child marriage – across 60 countries. It shines a light on the often silent response to sexual abuse and outlines barriers and pathways to progress. You can use this information to show your country where they must act to make progress.
By linking child marriage to other global issues like this, we can show world leaders that they must prioritise girls if they want to achieve the SDGs by 2030.
How to launch your own national ‘Stop Stealing Her Childhood’ petition!
Our global petition will help put international pressure on governments. But for them to really listen, we need to make sure citizens in their countries are putting pressure on them too. This is why we are asking you to launch your own country-level petition calling on your government to reinforce their commitment to end child marriage at the SDG Summit.
Read our ‘Stop Stealing Her Childhood’ Campaign Toolkit to follow three easy steps for launching your petition.
By launching a petition in your country you can demand action from your elected leaders and show your government and head of state that your country won’t stand for child marriage. It’s a simple way of drawing attention to the issue and putting pressure on a decision-maker to take action around a key moment.
Your national petition will form part of the larger global campaign that the Girls Not Brides’ team will be promoting in the lead up to the SDG Summit. By working together to collect as many signatures as possible over the next couple of months, we will be able to combine all our efforts for one large petition delivery in New York during the SDG Summit. If we make enough noise - governments will have to listen!
In the time it has taken to read this article 11 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 3 seconds