Bridal organisation releases photo series to raise awareness of child marriage

It’s International Day of the Girl and this year’s theme revolves around body image.

However, one organisation has decided to raise awareness of a different issue in 2019: child marriage.

Brides do Good has just announced a nationwide campaign dubbed #OnlyAGirl, with the aim to highlight the lack of knowledge around child marriage and the dangers this poses to millions of young girls in the country.

Across the globe, 12 million girls under 18 get married every year – that’s almost one every two seconds. In the UK, children can get married at 16 if they have parental consent, despite the fact the United Nations defines any marital union under the age of 18 as child marriage.

The social enterprise, which runs a service where women can donate, sell or buy wedding dresses and up to two thirds of sales go to girls in need, also ran a survey which revealed that 65% of British people are unaware of this law.

To really hit the point home, the company worked with eight young British girls to create a photo series to further illustrate the issue.

‘When people hear about child marriage in developing countries they are rightly shocked, yet from our recent survey results it is clear that the majority of people have absolutely no idea it is happening in the UK too,’ said founder of Brides do Good, Chantal Khoueiry.

‘This isn’t surprising considering that in the UK there is a severe lack of data on child marriage cases, due to there being no official form of reporting in place. We hope that the data we have gathered will act as a step forward in helping to raise awareness of this unjust and barbaric act.

‘Even in modern Britain, there are lots of different factors that can put a child at risk of being forced into an early marriage, including poverty, family traditions, customary or religious laws that promote the practice, and an inadequate legislative framework.

‘Because of these factors, for many children in the UK marriage is forced upon them – robbing them of their childhood, education, health and freedom.’

Brides do Good has also launched a petition to change current legislation and raise the minimum age to 18 in the UK.

The goal is only set to 100 signatures so far, but a Brides do Good representative told that the aim is to run the campaign over four months (so the total is likely to change over time).

Chantal added: ‘As part of the #OnlyAGirl campaign, we wanted to create a series of emotive images which would allow us to highlight the innocence of young girls, whilst capturing the hearts of the nation.

‘We encourage everyone who feels emotionally impacted by these images to sign our petition, which calls for the government to address the current age legislations for marriage in the UK – so that together we can end child marriage.

‘If children under the age of 18 are not mature enough to vote, drink, smoke, or gamble in the UK – then why can they marry?’

It’s a good question.

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