Byl Maasi Haleem
We all have a little bit of Technicolor in our lives; at least I hope all of you have. I am lucky to have been born into a family and to a society where girls are valued, where I am treated equally, where my opinions matter, and where I grew up knowing that pretty much anything is possible.
Then, there are those girls, a staggering number of 3.3 billion girls, who have never seen a hint of Technicolor in their world. They are treated unequally and discriminated in bewailing ways simply because they are girls. They are subjected to issues ranging from from child marriages to gender-based violence because they are girls.
Child marriages are common in countries such as India where girls as young as 11 years old are forced to get married. Child marriages have been found out to make girls more vulnerable to domestic violence, sexual abuse and inability to even complete their primary education. Devastatingly, the most common thing that has been a result of child marriage is leading to early pregnancies. A research conducted in India found out that approximately 14 million adolescent girls give birth every year. Girls this age are twice more likely to die during childbirth at this age because their bodies are too fragile to handle it.
Whereas, in other parts such as Pakistan where there are extreme and oppressive traditional values and norms, the rate of honour killings are an astounding number of 1000 per year. For those of you who may not know what an honour killing is, it is a so-called honour based violence in which a relative is killed, especially a girl or woman who is perceived to have brought dishonour to their family for reasons such as disagreeing to an arranged marriage. Women and young girls are gruesomely murdered and their families and communities end up justifying it being as an honour killing. What’s more shocking is that the responsible authorities in some communities do not take it too seriously or tend to ignore it because they don’t intend to meddle with “private” family affairs.
Unfortunately, the above mentioned are mostly common in those countries where there is a high rate of poverty, and mostly where there is limited or even no access to education. Without being able to read or write, or even being given the opportunities to speak up for themselves, these girls are unable to escape from a nightmare that they are trapped in.
I know that most of you reading this may feel like there is little that we can do about this. The truth is there is no such thing as little. We may not be able to directly impact the lives of these girls, but there are ways we can help. We can become a source to make their voices heard! The world is at our fingertips, due to technology! We can stand up for these girls, and most importantly make people aware that this is happening right in this world where we are living in.
There is no such thing as the little things; a little thing may just make a world’s difference in someone else’s life. I say, why don’t we try to bring a little Technicolor into their lives?