Last week, a blog by 12-year-old Norwegian girl Thea went viral. Thea blogged about her feelings surrounding her upcoming wedding to a 37-year-old man named Geir.
Later, it was revealed that Thea doesn’t exist. Her blog and story were created by international aid organization Plan to draw attention to child marriage. It worked, as the blog went viral.
Child marriage, defined as marriage before the age of 18, is still a large issue in developing countries. Here are some relevant stats, found from UNICEF:
Ratio of women ages 20-24 worldwide who are child brides: 1 in 3
Global ratio of women ages 15-19 who are married or in union: 1 in 5
World marriage rates for girls over 15 and under 18 years of age (excludes China): 34%
World marriage rates for girls under age 15 (excludes China): 11%
Region with the highest rates of child marriage: South Asia
South Asian marriage rates for girls over 15 and under 18 years of age (excludes China): 46%
South Asian marriage rates for girls under age 15 (excludes China): 18%