Early and forced marriage among Syrian refugee girls in Jordan have doubled since the start of the civil war in 2011, a new report has revealed.
Save the Children says extreme poverty and increasing fears of sexual violence among refugee communities mean some parents feel they have no choice but to marry their daughters to keep them “protected”.
In pre-conflict Syria, 13% of all marriages involved children, but that rate has doubled among refugees who have fled to Jordan. And 48% of child brides are being forced to marry men ten years older than they are.
Girls at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan recently attended sessions designed to raise awareness of the dangers of child marriage.
They were asked to produce drawings based on what they had learned in the sessions and witnessed in their communities.
In this picture the girl asks: “Daddy, where is this man taking me? Is it to the park?”
Here are some of the powerful images created by the girls:
Commenting on the issue, Justin Forsyth, CEO of Save the Children, said: "Child marriage is devastating for those girls concerned."
The report says that families feel child marriage is the best way to protect girls and ease family resources.
"These girls, who by fleeing the war in Syria have already been subjected to more than any child should, are at extreme risk of mental health issues resulting from social isolation, stress, and abuse," Forsyth added.
"But the repercussions of forced marriage can be physical as well as mental – and even deadly."
“The consequences for girls' health of engaging in sexual activity while their bodies are still developing are devastating: girls under 15 are five times more likely to die in childbirth than fully grown women."
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