What do you see? A heartbreaking close-up on child marriage

On 25th November we marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, kicking off a crucial 16 day period of activism against violence against women which finishes on the 10th December (Human Rights Day). Now, you may ask: why 16 days? What’s this campaign all about? Why do we need it?

Well the stark reality is that women and girls across the globe continue to suffer the tragic effects of sexual, emotional and physical violence – all because of their gender. Yes, females are still more likely to experience gender-based violence than their male counterparts and the consequences are long-term – even fatal. If we look at recent statistics on the issue, it’s shocking to see how common such violence really is.

For example, did you know that:

  • 1 in 4 women have experienced sexual and/or physical violence?
  • In some countries as many of 70% have been physically/sexually abused by an intimate partner?
  • Over half of all victims of human trafficking are female?
  • 200 million women and girls have been subjected to female genital mutilation?
  • Around 650 million girls alive today were married before the age of 18?

It’s tragic, unjust and utterly inhumane and that’s why we MUST speak out.

In light of the campaign, I’d like to share a poem from my upcoming book: What Do You See? which sheds light on the tragic practice of child marriage (a.k.a early/forced marriage). Take a look:


Unimaginable isn’t it? Yet this is the reality that many young girls across the globe are facing. So let’s raise awareness and say no to child marriage and no to all other forms of violence against women and girls!

Join the campaign and share your voice! One simple, easy way to get started is to  and join the UN Women UK’s latest campaign and #drawaline. All you need to do is share your picture and story and you’ll become part of an ongoing movement. Even better – why not start your own campaign?

So ladies and gents – let’s stand up and declare an end to violence against women and girls for all! After all, how can we strive towards justice and equality when one half of the population is so unjustly discriminated against?

#drawaline and say no to violence against women and girls! 

Further information:

Stats: UN Women (2018) Draw a Line; Facts and figures: Ending violence against women

Poem: Arif-Fear. E (2019) What If It Were You? A Collection of Human Rights Poetry, Shepheard-Walwyn, London (copyright – all rights reserved)

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