What were you doing when you were 13?
I was immersed in books, playing video games, and the only problems I had to worry about were my mid-term and final year exams.
This 13-year-old girl from the Philippines, however, would now have to shoulder the responsibilities of a wife and mother after she was forced to marry a 48-year-old man.
Becoming a mother at 13.
According to Harian Metro, the girl was forced to marry farmer Abdukrzak Ampatuan who lives in the small town of Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
Images of the Islamic wedding ceremony, which took place on 22 October, 2020, began circulating on social media. What stumped many was the fact that the girl was not only the man’s fifth wife but she’ll be taking care of kids her age from the man’s previous marriages.
Abdulrzak said he’s happy with the marriage despite having a son the same age as the 13-year-old. He intends to have a baby with her once she hits 20.
“I am very happy to meet her and to be able to spend the rest of my life with her. She will take care of my son,” he said.
For the time being, he said he will ensure she completes her studies.
Is this legal?
In the Philippines, such marriages are legal in the Muslim majority province of Mindanao. So long as a boy or girl has hit puberty, they can marry.
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) recently revealed that the Philippines is the 12th highest when it comes to child marriages in the world at 726,000.
Some 15 percent of girls get married off before they even hit 18. Out of this, 2 percent get married before 15.
To make matters worse, Philippines law renders divorce illegal. It’s the only country in the world that has such a law in place, sans Vatican City.