Let’s not use spurious arguments on child marriages

By TK Chua

Sometimes, when we are incapable of agreeing or thinking straight, we like to provide excuses.

I am referring to PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, who wants Malaysians to focus on the exploitation of children in general instead of child marriages alone.

When we say child marriage is not the issue, the issue is the “exploitation of children”, what exactly do we mean?

Put it the other way around: if we are concerned about the exploitation of children, why are we not concerned about child marriages? Are we saying that the moment children enter into a marriage, they become mature and capable of deciding on things for themselves?

I suspect those who support child marriages are not really concerned about the exploitation of children. They just want to do it the “legal way”. Marriage somehow fraudulently “sanctifies” all the evil desires, exploitation, lust and whatever else we might harbour about children.

I detest the idea that when we discuss child marriages, it is an infringement on the religious beliefs of others. Child marriages are a universal problem; no one has more right than others to either encourage or prevent it. We should all discuss this rationally and logically.

It is true that there is exploitation, unequal relationships and divorce even in marriages between adults, as pointed out by Tuan Ibrahim. Should we then use this excuse to say it is okay to allow child marriages? Is this not a spurious argument to rationalise our own preferences?

Problems in a marriage between two adults must be looked at very differently from problems in a marriage between an adult and a child. A child does not stand a chance to decide on her love and affection, her body, welfare or destiny. It is inherently exploitative to the core.

TK Chua is an FMT reader.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.