Say a 16-year old girl is about to be wedded to a man twice her age. The family defends the decision they made for her by saying that their village is unsafe and having a husband gives the young girl a protection and a perceived sense of security.
More often than not, when encountering a problem, people tend to go for the quick easy fix. It works sometimes, but many problems are more sophisticated than it appears to be. When you don't dig deep, the whole thing may actually make sense to your ears—even if just a little bit—and before you know it you may just start telling yourself that child marriage may be a good idea after all. But that doesn't solve the problem. That's basically storing a dead body under your bed. You don't see the problem, but the smell lingers and it gets worse everyday you choose to ignore and fail to acknowledge that there's a problem.
Then what is the problem? Is it... complicated? Well, that's putting it rather lightly. First, there's the fact that Indonesian law actually approves of underage marriage (for girls as young as 16 with parental consent) and attempts to address this have fallen short a few times. And then there's the unfortunate status quo in many local communities still barring women, young and old, from authorities over their own body and independence. Isn't it strange as well that the young girl's parents marry her off to a 32-year old man for protection? Why aren't they protecting her? Or if you think going over the structural approach sounds like too much work, cut short and be honest: if the village isn't safe for young women, why are we not aspiring to advocate and do something for the village to be safe and secure for its inhabitants? How is marrying young girls off solve the problem? At all?
Hume would agree that it takes reason to see things clearly, but it only takes courage and empathy to speak up against injustice—may it be masked as a tradition, faith, custom, norm, belief, law, anything.
Knowledge and information can be very liberating. Share them. Shift perspectives. #EndViolence