Letter of the Day

Ring of practicality

HISTORICALLY, many cultures have arranged, if not forced, marriages of young girls, and while it may be hard to fathom this social norm in Victoria today, the sad truth is that financial gain and benefit for the families are often the impetus (“We can’t fail these girls”, Opinion, 14/2).

Rita Panahi highlights the urgent need to ensure young girls are protected from this practice, but the reality for many migrant families in this country is that forcing their offspring into marriage not only gives them money, but saves them from supporting that child too.

In some tribes, Aborigines also practise this custom. These marriages may happen in certain cultures because females are “considered second-class citizens”, but for families needing to survive financially, or wanting to comfortably, pecuniary interest can transcend moral, ethical and just practices.

As the recent Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence revealed, physical, emotional and financial abuse of females in marriage is pervasive across all cultures, nationalities and religions in this state.

Perhaps it is important to acknowledge that marriage for the sake of it, be it forced or freely entered into, does not equate to happy ever after.