Child Marriages: Analysing the Narrative Conversations with Survivors
Keywords: Child marriage, survivors, perception, Marriage Act, Customary Law
AbstractThis paper examined the narratives of survivors of child marriages. Their perceptions were important in understanding the mindset that drive the contraction of child marriages. The study was carried out in Lusaka and Central provinces of Zambia and used a narrative design. Qualitative data were collected using the semi-structured interview guides. The girls were introduced to the researchers via snowballing. These girls were married off whilst in school. At the start of this study, only one of the girls was still in matrimony. Within the context of attribution theory, the study findings showed that participants indicated that the law on child marriage was problematic for the following reasons: The belief that law has no space in family issues, marriage was salvation from destitution and that there was no space for criminal law in matrimony. In addition, pregnancy was believed to be a precursor to marriage. The study recommended the re-orientation of people on the law and economic support for the children that fall pregnant with a view of taking them back to school and discourage them from early marriages. The findings of the study have implications for how the law against child marriage was being implemented in Zambia. The success of the law lies in the re-orientation of the people on the necessity of the law. There should be an emphasis on removing laws that are repugnant to justice such as the customary law that allows parents and guardians to marry off underage children.