Death of a 14 Year Old Zimbabwean Girl After Giving Birth on a Church Shrine Causes Outrage
By Vincent Ng
Just last month, on July 15th, a 14 year old girl in Zimbabwe, named Memory Machaya died after giving birth in a church shrine in the eastern region of Marange. She was forced to abandon school and marry someone. The circumstances that lead to her death are still being investigated by the Police in Zimbabwe.
One thing we know about her death is that it was in Zimbabwe’s Apostolic Church which practices child marriage. They also usually reject medicine and hospital treatment.
This case has opened a whole new world of the exploitation of minors, this has led to anger many people around the world. There is even a petition made called “justice for Memory Machaya” which has the signatures of over 57,000 people.
Everjoice Win, a Zimbabwean feminist activist said that she would encourage people to pressure people who have the power of law or people with more power to start doing something about children being abused. On twitter she wrote that “Women and girls were not seen as fully human, with individual rights... to control our own bodies"
Even the United Nations has stepped in on this matter and urged the Zimbabwe government to use all efforts to stop child marriage and bring end to this practice.
On the other hand, the families that are marrying off their children are hoping to get financial benefits from the marriage. Other families also hope that these marriages will provide an opportunity to go to school. These thoughts from the families lead to bigger problems such as the amount of money each family has and how not having enough money could result in the death of children.
While focusing on stopping child marriage is a great action, we should eventually move on to making sure every family has enough resources to survive so they don’t send their children off to be married for money.