In a renewed attempt to raise awareness about the prevalence of child marriages in Lebanon, nongovernmental organization Kafa (meaning “enough” in Arabic) staged a photoshoot with a middle-aged man and a 12-year-old girl in a wedding dress.
As the odd-looking couple posed for pictures on the seaside promenade, a camera took note of the public’s reaction.
While some passersby did not react and others were visibly disturbed but kept their opinions to themselves, a large number of those who appeared in the video were outraged at the setup.
One woman demanded to know where the young girl’s parents were, exclaiming, “She’s 12! I was jogging but my feet froze when I saw her.”
Another bystander reminded the woman that “the law allows it.”
Child marriages continue to be an issue of great concern in many countries in the region.
In Yemen, young girls are often married off to much older men, despite recent legislation setting the minimum marrying age at 18 years. According to statistics from Human Rights Watch – released prior to the aforementioned law was passed – 52 percent of Yemeni girls are married before turning 18, with some marrying when they are as young as eight years old.
Egypt also witnesses many instances of child marriage despite national laws requiring boys and girls alike to be at least 18 years old in order to marry.
In 2014, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution calling on all states to end child marriage, which statistics indicate affect 15 million girls worldwide each year.