9 Year Old Girls Don’t Get Married, They Become Sex Slaves

Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world


We’ve been reading for weeks about Boko Haram kidnapping schoolgirls, and further reports say some have been sold off as wives for as little as $12. It’s frightening, and there is a well justified international cry for justice.

But if you think all governments are outraged at this type of violation of little girl’s bodies and souls and rights and freedoms, they aren’t. According to NPR, the Justice Minister of Iraq recently proposed legislation that would allow fathers to marry off their own daughters as soon as they reach 9 years of age. It makes one wonder if the office of Justice Minister of Iraq means the same thing as it does in other countries.

Children at age 9 are still growing up. Can you imagine a grown man taking a 9 year old home and calling her his bride? No, such a “marriage” would force the child to be no more than a slave, trafficked by her father to another man, robbed of her childhood and forced to live in ways no child should have to endure.

What would their “marriage” be like? Does anyone really expect a 9 year old to communicate with a man as a grown woman would? How does the man speak to the child – as a spouse or as she really is, someone barely out of infancy?

Then when it comes to sexual intercourse the prospect becomes truly frightening and nauseating, because it then becomes nothing less than child abuse.

Yet it would all be legal.

That’s not the way it’s supposed to be. Here are just a few of the things the Bible tells us about God’s special care for children:

  • Children should be treasured as a blessing from God. (Psalm 37:26.)
  • Children receive God’s blessings in ways that adults should emulate. (Mark 10:13-16.)
  • Children are a spiritually protected class of people. (Luke 17:1-2.)
  • And the bottom line: Children belong to God, not to parents. (Ezekiel 23:27.)

The NPR report linked above said the legislation in Iraq is proposed but not guaranteed. I pray it goes down in unequivocal defeat. These children deserve protection, not government approved exploitation.

And I pray for the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, held hostage and sold off as chattel-brides.

Jesus loves all of these children, cherishes them, and knows each of them by name. As the song we ourselves sung as children reminds us, they are all precious in his sight.


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23 Responses to 9 Year Old Girls Don’t Get Married, They Become Sex Slaves

  1. Bev Murrill says:

    As long as patriarchy allows men to commodify women/girls, these things will continue to happen. Vomit-making really.

  2. It’s really too horrible to think about – and yet it is the reality being lived out by young girls as we speak! Wake up, world!

  3. betsydecruz says:

    I’ve been praying for those girls since I heard about this. I’m just sick over it and looking to God for justice.

  4. vrein11 says:

    I like your article Tim, but I can’t just push the “Like” button. I do not at all Like what is happening around the world and even right here in America!! We are third in the world for sex slavery!! 3rd!!! We are supposed to be the ones others look up to!! Heartbreaking… Praying for this all to end!

    • Tim says:

      I was just reading about 7-year-olds working and getting ill in the tobacco fields in America’s south, too. Heartbreaking.

  5. Aimee Byrd says:

    Truly sickening. I have a nine-year-old son, and I couldn’t even imagine him having the knowledge of this stuff. This is such a horror!

  6. No person deserves to be forcibly removed from their home, school for the benefit of themselves. Boko Haram do not represent Muslims. They represent idiots.

  7. Brian Howell says:

    Let me say that I agree that Boko Haram kidnapped and trafficked these girls. And the age of 9 is a very young age for girls to marry, particularly if they are expected to begin sleeping with their husbands at that age. But at the risk of appearing morally repugnant, I have to sound a note of caution here. The Western ideal of marriage partnership is not a universal, either in the Bible or in culture and history. At what age do we say that “childhood” ends and adulthood begins? 18? 16? 15? 21? What do we say to the many cultures where marriage is not expected to be about emotional support and friendship, but about economic security and family? As an anthropologist, I want to suggest that simple condemnation of others’ marriage practices without some rather careful consideration of the entirely of the social context can quickly become neocolonialism.

    I agree with the comments that say no one should be forcibly removed from their homes, but I think it is putting a modern Western ideal to say that every individual, man and woman, is just a morally autonomous agent who has no responsibility to family or community and should always and everywhere choose their own path in everything.

  8. Brian Howell says:

    But your reasoning is that she can’t communicate as “a grown woman would” and that sexual intercourse would be “nauseating.” I agree with both of those statements, but I have to recognize that my nausea is not nature, it is culture. And that a belief in the importance of husband/wife communication (and what that might look like) is also a cultural norm.

    I agree that the case of 9 year olds is not a particularly difficult moral issue, as very few nine year olds have begun menarche, and even if they have, they wouldn’t be physically ready to bear a child. But what about 13? or 14? I just think we have to temper our moral outrage in cultural contexts that we haven’t explored deeply.

    • Tim says:

      But I’m not discussing the older girls you bring up. I’m discussing 9 year olds.

    • Tracey Russell says:

      Brian, the onset of menstruation does not signify that a girl’s body is physically ready to bear a child. Many of the terrible gynecological issues women in underserved countries have to bear are the result of becoming mothers before their pelvic bones were ready to handle pregnancy and birth. 13-14 year olds are not physically ready to give birth. As you are asking us to lay aside our moral prejudice, you should take care to make sure you have your own facts straight.

  9. Brian Howell says:

    NB: I shouldn’t assume you haven’t explored these contexts deeply, but the post is brief, as good posts are, so we, the readers, haven’t explored the contexts deeply. Apologies if I assume too much.

    • Ruth says:

      No Brian, you should not assume anything about girls, young, or fully grown women and what they experience in physical, emotional and spiritual contexts in marriages or sexual activities and birth. You can’t know because you are not female, and it is very worrying to hear you justify any deviance from two consenting adults coming together as partners as culturally acceptable.
      Grown women, not little girls and teenagers belong in full relationships and bearing the risks of childbirth.
      You may be an anthropologist, but you are, at best, speaking of ways of cultural ‘norms’ that are not normal or healthy to females of anything other than full maturity.

  10. jorymicah says:

    I cannot even deal. How badly I want to save all these babies from such evils. Thank you for raising awareness!

  11. Pingback: Advice for Men Who Treat Women Badly | Tim's Blog – Just One Train Wreck After Another

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