However, there is a certain kind of fear which many of us are lucky to never to face. Childhood usually comes with the wonderful gift of fearlessness. The joy of innocence and the lack of self-consciousness allows so many children to live happy lives, blissfully unaware of the heartache that is often found in adult life. There are however, many children in the world who are not so lucky. Among them are the victims of forced child marriage. Children as young as eight years old are forced to marry men much older than themselves. The victims are pushed into adult life many years before their natural time. Stripping away their innocence and freedom is something we must all stand up against if we are to protect those whose voices cannot be heard. Forced marriage happens for a number of reasons: cultural and religious expectations; the preservation of wealth and reputation in the family; and controlling sexual behavior are just a few examples. Many children in the UK are taken abroad in the school holidays, unaware of their fate. After experiencing many ordeals that no child should endure, they return after the holidays a shell of the happy child they once were.
One particular child, who was a victim of forced marriage, stood up for her rights and grew into the courageous woman she now is today. Sameem Ali was forced to marry a man she barely knew at only thirteen years of age. Although it gravely affected her physically and emotionally, she escaped the abusive lifestyle and is now an author, a local government councillor, and campaigns for education about the kind of abuse that haunted her upbringing. TrueTube have produced a film exploring Sameem’s story, highlighting how forced marriage happens, why it happens, and how we can all help to prevent it. It is through the power of education that we can preserve the innocence of childhood which is so carelessly taken away.