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Child Brides: The Health and Human Consequences of Marrying Too Young

Master class at the Boston University School of Public Health focusing on the global phenomenon of forced child marriage


  1. Nov 4, 2011 -- In many countries around the world, girls as young as 5 are forced into arranged marriages with much older men in a complex cultural practice often cloaked in secrecy. A presentation at Boston University School of Public Health, and a similar forum at the Boston Public Library Central Branch, discussed some of the origins of this custom. Both events were co-sponsored by BUSPH, the BU Center for Global Health & Development, the BU College of Communication, and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
  2. After an introduction by BUSPH Dean Bob Meenan and Pulitzer Center Executive Director Jon Sawyer, photojournalist Stephanie Sinclair showed a chilling video of child brides in Yemen, India, Afghanistan and Ethiopia.
  3. Too Young to Wed: The Secret World of Child Brides
  4. SInclair added comments after the video, explaining that: 
  5. Religion, while a factor, isn't the only determinant of child marriage, nor is the custom specific to any one religion or one region, Sinclair said:
  6. Sinclair and writer Cynthia Gorney -- whose collaboration was featured in the June 2011 edition of National Geographic -- said education was far more of a key than religion:
  7. National Geographic Live! - Too Young to Wed
  8. Another interesting, unexpected discovery was the level of support from some men within the communities that Sinclair and Gorney visited:
  9. As Gorney added later:
  10. Gorney, a journalism professor at the University of California, Berkeley, revealed that she entered the project with a firmly held position, but found that the subject of child marriage was far more complex and nuanced the more she reported on it.