Indian 'Baby Bride' Successfully Files For Annulment
Apr 27, 2012 11:38
An 18-year-old girl from India who was entered into an arranged marriage when she was just a year old has made history in her hometown by fighting against her forced union and getting an annulment.
Laxmi Sargara was married at age one to a boy named Rakesh, who was then three. Since she was just a toddler at that time, she had no idea the "wedding" had taken place until she got older. When she finally found out, she decided to sought help from a social worker in Jodhpur named Kriti Bharti. Bharti, who runs the Sarathi Trust which lobbies for children's rights, helped Sargara negotiate with Rakesh and his family and persuade them that the union was unfair.
While her fiance initially objected to ending the marriage, he eventually changed his mind after he realized Sargara was so fiercely opposed to it. The marriage was then annulled with a joint legal document, which should ensure that Sargara doesn't have any problems with it in the future.
Child marriages are technically illegal in India, though many families living in
rural communities still engage in them for financial reasons. After conducting the ceremony, the young bride-to-be will continue living with her family until she reaches
puberty before she is sent to live with her betrothed's family. Sargara's bold move might just be the first step towards changing the entire culture of child marriage.