As the saying goes, "it takes a village to raise a child." However, the primary role in a child's upbringing falls on the parents. They are responsible for providing love, affection, basic necessities, and guidance as the child grows and develops. In a world where many families face poverty, disease, and other challenges, the task of parenting can be difficult, and not all parents are able to provide the care and support their children need.
One issue that has gained significant attention in recent times is child marriage. This practice, where girls are married off at a young age, often before they reach 18, is prevalent in many countries, including Yemen. The death of an 8-year-old bride, Riwan, who died on her wedding night from internal bleeding, sparked outrage and renewed the debate on child brides. She had been forced to marry a 40-year-old man. Despite media attention and public outcry, the authorities have not taken any action against the husband or family, which is a common occurrence in Yemen. The practice of child marriage is often driven by poverty and a desire to reduce the costs of raising a child, as well as earn additional income through the dowry.
The situation in Yemen is dire, with a UN report revealing that 10.5 million people lack sufficient food supplies, and 13 million have no access to safe water and basic sanitation. In the face of these challenges, it is imperative that society takes action to protect and support vulnerable children. The consequences of child marriage can be devastating, as young brides are often subjected to abuse, exploitation, and health problems.
The situation is not much different in other parts of the world, with child sexual abuse and exploitation being a widespread issue. The statistics are alarming, with 1 in 9 girls and 1 in 53 boys under the age of 18 experiencing sexual abuse or assault from an adult. This abuse can have long-lasting effects on a child's mental and emotional health, leading to low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety.
In light of recent reports of increased child sexual abuse in the US during the pandemic, it is more important than ever to take action to protect and support vulnerable children. The pandemic has created new challenges, with many children spending more time online and being isolated from friends and family. This increased isolation and lack of access to support systems can make children more vulnerable to abuse.
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