In two villages a few kilometers from Mashhad (northeast), it is becoming a norm to wed girls at the young ages of 12 or 13. In some cases, beautiful girls are engaged at the age of even 10. A ring determines their fate with boys 6 or even 12 years older. Girls in this village become pregnant at the age of 14 and 15, yet there are even some who become mothers at the age of 10.
Last spring the names of 18,000 girls under the age of 15 were registered for marriage. Article 1401 of the Iranian regime’s Civil Code, approved in 2002 states, “Girls getting married before the age of 13 and boys before 15 must be under the permission of a male caretaker.”
One of the women in this village is 36-years-old but her face is already filled with wrinkles. “Here no one accepts a girl over the age of 15. They say if a girl goes to school they won’t be any good for marriage. Men don’t like their wives being smarter than them,” she said.
“Women in this village become mother-in-laws at the age of 36. We are always busy just taking care of the children,” another girl said. “Our hair goes white at the age of 14 or 15. Here they don’t ask girls about their opinion on the marriage. When the father answers yes, it’s all done. My sister was 12 when her marriage was arranged. She said she never thought of loving her husband or not, and she was just happy that they gave her a ring.”
“Most of the marriages in this village are with relatives and this has become customary. Families with sons get small girls into their own custody so she grows up to behave the way the husband’s family wants. In the marriage certificate, there is no word of the woman’s right to divorce, housing, employment and education. The village women believe if they divorce one day, they will be forced to give up their dowry because here men have the last word,” she added.
(State-run Salamat News website – February 26, 2015)