Culture

Girl, 13, Forced To Marry 48-Year-Old Man And Cares For His Kids Who Are The Same Age As Her

She is also her husband's fifth wife.

  • Asnaira is Abdulrzak’s fifth wife. Under Muslim law, a man can have more than one spouse.
  • Abdulrzak will send his new wife to school while they are still not ready to make their own children.
  • Asnaira stays at home doing household chores and taking care of her husband’s children from his previous marriages.

In Mamasapano, a town in the Philippine province of Maguindanao, a 13-year-old girl was forced to marry a 48-year-old man. Stories like this are nothing new – child marriage is allowed in at least 117 countries, according to Pew Research Center.

What made this case become viral, then? Maybe it’s the fact that the child bride will now have to take care of her husband’s existing children, who are just her own age.

Asnaira Pamansag Mugaling married Abdulrzak Ampatuan in a day-long Muslim ceremony, a scenario which most people would consider “sick.” The child bride, all decked out in white traditional gown, sat beside her groom, who looks old enough to be her father, or grandfather even.

Also, Asnaira is Abdulrzak’s fifth wife. Under Muslim law, a man can have more than one spouse, as long as he can provide equally for all of them and the families that he will make with them.

Three weeks after the wedding, Abdulrzak built a small house for him and his new wife. while Abdulrzak is out doing his farming duties, Asnaira stays at home tending the house, doing household chores and taking care of her husband’s children from his previous marriages. These kids are the same age as her.

She claims that she’s not afraid of her husband because he is “nice to her”.

As for Abdulzrak, he said that he’s happy to have found his new wife and “will spend his days with her taking care of [his] children.”

“She will take care of my son,” he said.

He added that since they are not ready to have their own children, he would send his wife to school and let her finish her studies.

“I will pay for her school because I want her to get an education while waiting for the right time to have children,” said Abdulrzak.

The Philippines has 726,000 child brides, according to data from UNICEF. Around 15 percent of girls in the country are already married before they turn 18, while 2 percent are married before their 15th birthday.

This falls under child marriage, which the United Nations defines as “any formal marriage or informal union where one or both parties are under the age of 18.”

Early pregnancy, social isolation, and overall development are the main consequences of child marriage.

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