Kalinde’s story was kindly shared by Human Rights Watch and is an excerpt from their report “I’ve never experienced happiness: Child marriage in Malawi”.
I am 23 years old and my husband is 30. I married when I was 15. I have two children aged 9 and 18 months. I did not want to marry but I agreed because of poverty at home. We had a marriage ceremony where both our parents came together, talked and agreed that we can marry.
During the marriage ceremony, I was told to respect my husband and never to deny him sex. I was told to bear it when I get problems because that is how marriages are. I found life very difficult after marriage. I was a small girl and I did not know anything about marriage.
One time, my stomach started getting big and I was having severe headaches. I was so scared; I did not know what was happening. I went to the hospital and that is when the nurse told me I was 5 months pregnant.
My husband is a builder and I do nothing. I am not happy in my marriage because my husband goes away without leaving food and takes long to come back home. My husband also beats me and is a womanizer.
I love him so much but he does not love me and that is why he has very many women. I want to leave the marriage but I am waiting for the right time to leave. I am waiting for him to change and if he does not, I will leave him.
When my husband comes back from other women and wants sex, I just accept because he is my husband. We do not use condoms because he already infected me with HIV. Marriage is not good for girls.
There is no happiness. I want change for girls and that is why I want my story to be heard by all girls out there thinking of marriage.
The name in this story was changed to protect the girl's identity.
In the time it has taken to read this article 21 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