They were in an innocent infancy,and the open sky was a prison of them.They didn't know that the wind which caused their kits to fly ,will take their affair's funeral away in the absence of a just legislator.

Divorce's cases which have reached to the Personal Status Courts and reformers' ears,the bitterness which they are talking with it ;those little gilrs whom were forced to get married in an early age ,etc.All these things aren't new to the Syrian society.This society who considered at some period of time the marriage of an underage girl as a social event that didn't deserve taking it into consideration,exactly like other fields of the daily life!

But now,the case has begun to change by those opinions which insist on the necessity of discussing this issue throughout the amendment of 16th article of the personal status law.Besides,adopting strict measures to prevenet the marriage before 18thyear.They also demand to neutralize religious men from civil issues,and to limit both of marriage and divorce's cases to courts.

Statistics talk:
As to divorce's cases which are issued by the personal status court in Syria,the central office of statistics has recorded "15298" case during the last year.Statistics indicate that the higher rate of divorce's cases are in the large cities. 35,1% are in Damascus,then Aleppo 14,4%, while Al-Swida has recorded the lowest rate of cases 0,16%.
These statistics show that 5,30% of cases occuring in the Syrian society, are resulted from variations between partners' age ,since husband is sixteen years older than his wife ;and more.

From these numders,we can conclude that the divorce which is resulted from getting married to an underage girl, is localized in countrysides and far cities.These areas didn't receive neither the developmental projects which are released by the goverment ,nor the units of the General Woman Union.So that woman is still living on the margine , and still remaining imprisoned by darkness and illiteracy which caused her to get married in an early age while she is still a child (13-16 y.o) ,so she deserved "Victim's Title" worthly.

General Woman Union:
The vice-presedent of General Woman Union,Mrs.Ragwda Al-Ahmad says:
"Underage marriage is one of the most important themes which take General Woman Union's attention.This is because this kind of marriage often precludes the underage girl from her right to continue her education.In addition,It exposes her to healthy and social problems in an early and unsuitable age for her mental growth." .
Mrs.Al-Ahmad adds ," The early age of marriage allows along period of productivity,then density of population.Nowadays,this density has become a prblem in Syria since it takes a part in consuming most of developmental and servicing measures that are provided by the goverment.In Syrian Arab Repuplic,underage marriage is contradictory to the Law .The Law stipulates that the perfection of capacity is by reaching 18th for both boy and girl.This capacity refers to human's ability to do his duties and to practise his rights.So the marriage under this age is imperfect of will.Furthermore,in the protection of globalization and spatials' spreading,the nature of educational relationships requires cultivation and awareness from woman's side more than any previos time ,which is against to the early aged marriage.On the contrary,marriage requires maturity and capacity to deal with things culturally."

We don't pretend neither the perfect idealism nor the pure image":"
Mrs.Al-Ahmad evaluates General Woman Union's work in facing such miserable social phenomenon saying " We are working on the enlightment of society in all of our groups and unities throughout councils,mass meeting ,and enlightment's charges.We are also seeking to support girl's education ,and to limit slinking from schools especially in the secondary education.Also we are aiming to prepare the woman in society for rational marriage in which her wish won't be absent since she is generation's nursemaid and governess.".

Mrs.Al-Ahmad adds "General Woman Union is a puplic organization,its work is voluntary and it doesn't obtain any private advantage.Though the union contains 1644 unit ,some of them are in countryside ;860.And although there are 9000 village in Syria,but the womanly unit in some village is working to go beyond the geographical borders of this village.More than that,this work requires large material requirements .But they aren't available because the work is voluntary ,and it is achieved by the governor woman in the womanly unit in order to serve her village.".

Mrs.Al-Ahmad continues saying " In the General Woman Union,we don't pretend neither the perfect idealism nor the pure image.That is because work's methods in the union don't satisfy the aim,and we need new –developed methods.The method which we are working with ,isn't the only problem but the main problem exists in the common social climate in the Syrian countryside.However,the union can't do everything to reduce these phenomena,but it needs cooporation of efforts and organizations ,and additional effort from goverment's side".

"The lawful term twists our hand"
Mrs.Raghda Al-Ahmad says "The 18th article of the personal status law specify marriage's age of 18 year for youth and 17 year for girl.Whereas there is another term twists our hand ! In this law itself,it states in the 16th article that a judge has the right to marry a girl at 13 years old to a boy at 15 years old" .She is wondering for what the personal status law include this article?!
She continues "There are exceptional cases should be discussed ,then we can justify the underage marriage according to them.But the Law shouldn't be built on these cases in order not to turn the exception into rule."

It is shameful to exist marriage and divorce's cases outward of court's range.""
Mrs.Al-Ahmad expresses the solution from her point of view saying " The 16th article must be amended in the personal status law.Over that,the agreement must be achieved between the informational and religious adress which reinforses these activities since they are urgent and national issues.They are everybody's responsibility." She adds that it is shameful to exist marriages and divorce's cases outward of court's range.

"The little wife ,from playing to marriagebed"
Sumia Sakr is a social researcher and assistant professor in the Faculity of Sociology in Damascus University says "Underage marriage is related to society's attitude towards woman and her role in establishing it.As a result,we can see that this phenomenon is localized in countrysides and distant villages which are teemed with illiteracy and undevelopment."

She adds "Therefor the underage marriage's justifications don't often go out of saving (girl's honor) ,the fear of being (unmarried,spinster) ,and sometimes (daughters' trade) by their fathers ;then pushing them "girls"into unsuccessful marriage in exchange for financial bargain.As a consequence ,looking at her as "Flesh" not as a life-stage needs to be completed and takes its rights."

Mrs.Sakr states " Marrying of un underage girl is an assault on her infancy ,and leaving behind human's nature development .This is caused by misunderstanding of marriage which based only on the physical satisfaction.This is so far from the actual conception of marriage which is based on understanding,partnership, and equivalence.Whereas the underage girl is understanding,partnership, forced early to go away from playing to marriagebed,where husband's house may not care for her childhood as much as her womanhood.As to him,she is only wife who has to fulfill the needs of marriage apart from any other considerations.".

As to negative effects of such marriage,Sakr says "With girl/child's inability to endure marriage's responsibility ,and making the adjustment to the new conditions,it will be difficult taking care of children and house."
Sakr shows " Divorce is a normal end when there is no harmony between the partners,especially if there is a big difference as to age."

Two contradictory phenomena:
Today in the Syrian society,there are two contradictory phenomena .Since while we are witnessing delay in marriage's age;or even turning away from it,we find underage marriage !
Here, we have the right to say that marriage is an establishment based on partnership and the understanding of the other.Furthermore,it imposes awareness,emotional and physical maturity; and a good economic condition.So,where is marriage in the Syrian society from the coditions that are imposed by this establishment?!

by:Wael Deeb, 29/8/2008, (Underage marriage,how can this marriage build a social organization?)
Translated by:Hiba Muhammad

in Arabic