Fighting for her children

Fighting for her children

Too young for marriage

It takes a brave woman to go against the grain and fight customs practised for centuries.

Bintasy was forced into marriage by her parents when she was just 13 years old and had her first child at just 16. Today, she is campaigning to prevent forced marriages. She wants her daughters and other girls their generation to have a better life. This means having the choice of when and whom they marry - and doing so once they have finished school. Bintasy wasn't given the opportunity to get a good education.

The consequences of children being forced into an early marriage can be grave…

Health risks and other problems

One of the saddest consequences of young girls forced into marriage (normally to much older men) is they are still children themselves and are more likely to face domestic violence in the home.

Young girls' bodies are also not as mature, which means they are more likely to face complications in labour. So for example, without the help of skilled attendants, childbirth can result in an obstetric fistula (a hole in the birth canal), which leaves women permanently incontinent and sometimes ostracised from their communities.

Many young girls suffer a worse fate. With a shortage of doctors and midwives, maternal deaths are common.

History will not be repeated

Bintasy is feeling the pressure from others in the village; they believe her 15 year-old daughter should get married. She is adamant this cannot happen.

Bintasy wants her daughter, Aissatou, to have skills so she can take care of herself. She will not allow her daughter to be married off early, despite community pressure.

Bintasy may seem timid as she speaks softly to the camera. But she is a brave pioneer in her society, speaking out for women who have remained in the shadows too long.