Chipinge women reiterate call for an end to child marriages

By ZBC Reporter

Young women in the remote areas of Chipinge say they are being robbed off their potential due to child marriages with the majority lamenting cases of gender-based violence and sexual abuse.

Cases of child marriages continue to haunt young women and girls especially those who live in remote areas like Chipinge where traditional and cultural practices are still prevalent.

Faced with severe drought and food insecurities common in the areas, many young women find themselves in a regrettable yet inevitable situation where they are married off to those with better means of production but at the cost of happiness and future potential.

“I was married at the age of 15 because my family could not afford our upkeep so they thought by marrying me off things would change….” said one victim.

“Given a chance, I would like to return back to school and reshape my life. I missed a lot of opportunities because of that…”

“We are being abused in our marriages because our husbands do not provide for us and at times we are physically assaulted…”

The elderly members of the community who have been at the realm of the practice also shifted the blame on cultural practices and poverty as key enablers of child and underage marriages.

“Marrying off our daughters has been a long-standing history of the Ndau people. However, things are changing now due to awareness campaigns and education…”

…”Food challenges and droughts experienced in this area usually drive this malpractice…”

However, government and developmental partners are on overdrive raising awareness against gender-based violence and abuse of the girl child.

The fight against gender-based violence and child marriage requires a collective effort of both the government and the community towards ensuring that the rights of the girl child are promoted.