Lebanese NGO KAFA has long been fighting to change Article 9 of the Lebanese Constitution, which gives religious authorities the freedom to impose their own laws on various issues including marriage, divorce and child custody.
Back in 2015, KAFA launched its Child Marriage stunt, a campaign raising awareness on the lack of a unified civil personal status laws, featuring a video of a minor taking wedding photos with a man three times her age in a public space. The campaign revealed the reactions of the people on the street.
KAFA is back, with a new campaign, " Raise The Age " which aims to fight against child brides once again.
In the video, young girls talk about the various laws and customs that are imposed on minors in Lebanon. They talk about how in Lebanon, the law does not allow for minors to apply for driver's licenses, how their signatures are deemed invalid prior to turning 18 and how staying up late is not healthy at such a young age.
These girls want to know if all those things aren't allowed or favorable, then how on earth is being married before 18 still permissible?
Getting married at such a young age will require these young girls to drive, because who will drop off the children to school? And if their signatures are invalid, who will sign off on the marriage contract? And if staying up late is unhealthy, who will be the person to wake up the kids in the middle of the night?
In Lebanon, more than 13 percent of girls get married before they’re 18. Civil laws do not govern marriage, meaning a couple can only wed under religious laws, which allows for child marriage.
KAFA’s aim is to pressure the religious establishments by “rallying public support against child marriage.”
However, despite what many may think, child brides are not an issue only the Middle East suffers from. It is something children from all over the world deal with on a daily basis.
For example, in the United States, Virginia never had a law in place against child marriages until very recently, when a minimum age requirement was finally enforced. Almost 4,500 minors were married between 2004 and 2013 in the state alone.