Blog highlights child marriage
A fake wedding in Oslo calls for an end to child marriage worldwide
October 9, 2014 — In two days, Thea will be walking down the aisle of Kulturkirken Jakob, in Oslo. It’s expected to be a big wedding.
There are currently 6,300 attendees on the Facebook invitation page [note: 8,200 as of press time]. But they are not attending to celebrate the union; they are going to stop it. Thea is only 12 years old.
The wedding is part of a larger action to gather attention around the issue of child marriage. More than 70 million women alive today were married before the age of 18, according to UNICEF. Over one out of three was married before they hit 15.
Plan Norge is the organization behind the awareness campaign. It is a local branch of the global organization Plan, which engages in the child-focused development and assistance initiative.
“We want to show how terribly wrong a child marriage is by putting a tragic practice into a setting that we normally associate with love, happiness, and hope for the future,” stated Plan Norge’s Secretary General Olaf Thommessen on their website.
The organization launched a fictitious blog (theasbryllup.blogg.no; in Norwegian only) during the month leading up to the wedding in which the child-bride-to-be documented her plans and thoughts about marrying Geir, a man 25 years her senior.
The site gained a lot of attention, harboring more than half-a-million readers and becoming Norway’s most read blog after just one day.
“We think it’s good that people get provoked, because reality can be provocative,” stated Thommessen.
A Snapchat account was also created for readers to send in their questions such as “Is Geir good looking?” and “How did you meet Geir?” to Thea.
Thea raises her own issues throughout the process, questioning her limitations, her education, and the ability of her juvenile body to bear children.
The blog also recounts the real life stories of four girls, Sadia, Sharina, Ranya, and Latifa, who come from Bangladesh and Tanzania. They have allowed Plan to document their lives in an effort to stop the practice for present and future generations.
Thea’s “wedding” will take place on Saturday, October 11, at Oslo’s Kulturkirken Jakob between 2 pm to 3 pm, the International Day of the Girl Child.
Editor’s note, Oct. 13: The wedding/protest was a success, in that the “wedding” was stopped. The crowd chanted “Stopp bryllupet!” and the cry went out across social media worldwide. You can read more and watch the video at stoppbryllupet.blogg.no/1413034556_norge_stoppet_bryllup.html.
It also appeared in the Oct. 17, 2014 issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.