Many of you were shocked on Friday when we posted news that a 12 year old girl in Norway was to marry a 37 year old man over the weekend. You weren’t alone.
As 12 year old Thea walked up the aisle in Oslo on Saturday, hundreds of Norwegians took to the streets and #StopTheWedding spread like wild fire across the internet, with thousands speaking out in outrage.
Image Credit: Plan Norway
This all began when a seemingly legitimate blog was published from 12 year old Thea, talking about her upcoming wedding to 37 year old Geir. The campaign was run by Plan Norway and was aimed to shine a global light on the 39,000 girls every day who are forced into marriage, some as young as 8 years old. These girls have no choice but to say yes, and don’t have thousands of people taking to the streets in disbelief.
This powerful video shows how an entire nation mobilised around the issue and thankfully stopped Thea from being forced into early marriage.
The 400 people who attended the wedding also witnessed the amazing Shahida Akhter Shorna, an 18 year old from Bangladesh, who stood and spoke on behalf of real child brides. Her message was this: “At the age of 14, my family said I had to marry a grown man. I was scared and cried, but the pressure in the little community was huge. I finally persuaded them that I didn’t have to get married. Today I am proud to say that I have helped four other brides out of child marriages. Thea, don’t say yes. You’re still a child. Stop the wedding.”
Shahida Akhter Shorna, an 18-year-old girl from Bangladesh. Image Credit: Plan Norway
Every two seconds a girl is forced to be a child bride, which is why Plan Norway orchestrated this entire campaign to draw global attention to one of the most widespread and serious abuses of children.Thea’s blog and the wedding itself engaged millions of people from all across the world, including celebrities and world leaders, showing just how brutal and wrong child marriage really is.
If you’re as outraged as we are, join our showyourselfie campaign – a visual petition to put young people in the picture and ensure that we put their rights and needs at the forefront of our future world. Upload your photo of support at www.showyourselfie.org.
You can also read more about the wedding and Plan's work related to girls and child marriage here.