When I was in primary school, I was always on top of my class and one of my uncles in the Kombos was paying attention and supported. When the common entrance results came out, I was on top of the class and was so excited. All of a sudden, my parents decided that’s where the journey ends and getting married to a man who was old enough to be my grand pa is next on the to do list. They decided to crush my dream of becoming an Engineer or a medical doctor.
I felt so devastated, cried all week, put up a hunger strike and even thought about running in the middle of the night. My Uncle in Kotu heard the news and decided to rescue me from the miserable life I was headed towards. Late in the middle of the night, he woke me up and we embarked on a night journey. He supported me and guided me until I graduated from O’levels.
To cut the story short, I am now a certified Civil Engineer and a Project Manager. If my Uncle had not rescued me at the age of 13, I will be a miserable housewife by now married to a man I never loved. I won’t be able to be the breadwinner of my extended family. I may have even died conceiving a child at a pre-teen age. I would have still been stocked in the village never knowing what true love means. I took my time, found the man of my dreams and got married at the right time. My parents didn’t make that choice for me.
If women are forced to get married at young ages like 13 to even 18 why can’t it be the other way around? The defense is always the same ie kids start having affairs at that age. Correct me if I am wrong but are those not the same ages boys also start having affairs? What is the difference?
The concept that Men are the superior gender is the main reason women are still suppressed and oppressed in the developing world. Girls are not given the chance to prove their potentials. Forcing a 13-14 years old girl to marry a man her Dad’s age is not the solution. Chances are she will one day cheat on him with a man around her age.
Abstinence is what I always advised my daughter to do. I will never force her into any kind of marriage. I will make sure I mentor her, support her, make her a better woman and above all a better Muslim. She can get married whenever she meets the right man for her like me and her Daddy did. I am 100% anti-Yahya Jammeh but his stand against immature girls forced to marry creepy old men, that I am in support of.