Men and Women

Many Asian, African Families Marrying Off Daughters Amid Virus

This is what real sexism and patriarchy look like, folks. Not microaggressions or a lack of gender parity in professional basketball. Do you find supporting your pre-adolescent daughter too bothersome? Just marry her off to a pedo.

By Krista Larson, AP News

KOIDU, Sierra Leone (AP) — The man first caught a glimpse of Marie Kamara as she ran with her friends past his house near the village primary school. Soon after, he proposed to the fifth-grader.

“I’m going to school now. I don’t want to get married and stay in the house,” she told him.

But the pressures of a global pandemic on this remote corner of Sierra Leone were greater than the wishes of a schoolgirl. Nearby mining operations had slowed with the global economy. Business fell off at her stepfather’s tailoring shop, where outfits he had sewn now gathered dust. The family needed money.

Her suitor was a small-scale miner in his mid-20s, but his parents could provide rice for Marie’s four younger sisters and access to their watering hole. They could pay cash.

Before long, Marie was seated on a floor mat in a new dress as his family presented hers with 500,000 leones ($50) inside a calabash bowl along with the traditional kola nut.

“The day they paid for me was on a Friday and then I went to his house to stay,” she says flatly, adding that at least now she gets to eat something twice a day.


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