Lately, i have noticed that the number of girls who run away from home is increasing in Turkey. Each Turkish channel broadcasts daily talk shows where families of the missing victims come and tell their stories as they shed tears in desperation. Each show has tight connection with the nearest police station that is ready to take action when a witness calls or any information comes forward. It’s amazing how fast some of them work and finds the missing children and the families are reunited.
Numbers show that in January 2010, a number of 1661 young boys and girls were missing, majority being girls. The numbers are probably higher now but the concerning part is that the age of the girls are lower and lower.
Girls as young as 12-13 years are running away from home to be with the boy they “love” and get married. When asked why they ran away instead of speaking with their parents, they answer that they love each other and was scared that the parents would deny her from speaking with the boy. Not surprising considering the young age.
- 60% is between 16-18 years old
- 30% is between 13-15 years old
- 10% is 12 and younger
Some does also run away from domestic violence and family problems, boys usually “kidnap” the girls they love or they run away in search for a better life and a well paid job.
While the legal age for marriage is 18 years old, and if the girl is younger, the boy that has kidnapped her will be sentenced to jail, even if she willingly ran away with him. Unless the family of the girl withdraws the police report, the boy will escape a jail sentence.
What started to think about was that in Afghanistan, girls in young age are forced to marriage against their will while in Turkey girls in young age run away to get married and they are ready to sacrifice everything.
It’s a big mistake in my opinion thinking about the future of these children. How can a 13 year old girl understand what marriage is about? And how will they survive without education and work? Life is expensive in the world and I’m sure that the love will turn into hate after a while when the honeymoon time is over and real life hits them hard in the face.
Both countries have the same problem but in opposite direction causing a lot of head ache for the parents. To change this mentality and trend will be difficult and take a lot of time.
While the Afghan government has to figure out a way to stop girls from becoming child brides, Turkey has to work out with the parents to try to persuade the children to stay in school and wait until they reach the legal age of marriage.
Poverty, protection of girls, fear of loss of virginity before marriage and related family honour are suggested as significant factors in determining a girl’s risk of becoming married as a child and girls and women who are married in young age, are more likely to experience domestic violence and divorce as well. To avoid this, the government should promote education and make the girls aware of their rights and the importance of waiting with marriage until at least the legal age is reached. The important parts are the parents who must follow their children’s behavior and take action before it’s too late. The role of the parents, especially the mother is very important since the mother is always considered as the backbone of the family.
A father may turn his back on his child, brothers and sisters may become inveterate enemies, husbands may desert their wives, wives their husbands, but a mother’s love endures through all. “Washington Irving”