CURIOUS – Child, Not Bride.

Child marriage is a form of violence against children where they were forced to be married due to certain condition.  Children who have to be married under age 18 may face higher vulnerability, for example, in terms of access to education, health equality, violence, and poverty.

Fig 1. Child marriage trend in Indonesia from 2008 – 2018 (Kementrian PPPA, 2021)

In Indonesia, the number of child marriage is still relatively high. Although the number is already decreasing annually, it is relatively slow.  Recent data from Kementerian PPPA (2021) shows that the percentage of child marriage in Indonesia in 2018 is 11,21%. It is still far from the target of 8,74% in 2024. By the number itself, the occurrence of child marriage in Indonesia is the second highest in Southeast Asia.

Youth is the time for us to nurture our emotions, knowledge, body, and things that are essential for our life in the future. But what if marriage comes into the picture? We know that marriage comes with many responsibilities; housework, taking care of your spouse, and children. These are only a few examples of that. This means that these children, who are forced to marry, have to sacrifice their time一 their childhood, for the sake of marriage.

Child marriage is considered as a human rights violation. This is due to its direct effect on the child’s (mostly girls) education, health, psychological well-being, and the health of their offspring. In psychological well-being, child marriage may cause depression and isolation for the girls especially when they move to their husband’s household. In health, they have greater risk of getting human papilloma virus, sexually transmitted infection, and cervical cancer. In pregnancy, girls aged 10  to 15 years have small pelvises and are not ready for child delivery. For the infant itself, they have greater risk of mortality.

Child marriage also decreases the number of participation education. This affects the literacy rate of the children. The data shows that on average, children who undergo child marriage only finish 8 out of 12 years of compulsory education. In the other hand, education also plays a role in lowering the child marriage percentage.

Additionally, power imbalance is bound to happen inside this kind of marriage. When the spouse is much older (and, in most cases, more financially stable), the child can’t help but be financially dependent on their spouse, hence the power imbalance. This imbalance forces them to always obey their spouse and may lead to domestic violence. In fact, according to UNICEF, girls who marry before 18 are more likely to experience domestic violence compared to their peers.

Things we can do as youths are: 

  • Increase our comprehensive awareness and attitude towards child marriage and its consequences
  • Strengthen our role and capacity as peer groups to prevent child marriage
  • Empower the children to be able to recognize their rights
  • Advocate for legal and policy frameworks related to prevention of child marriage
  • Use our creativity to make a change

Children are the future of our nation. Protecting and fulfilling their rights are part of our responsibility as youths. Forcing marriage upon them means robbing them of their一 our future.


Andina, E. (2021). Meningkatnya Angka Perkawinan Anak Saat Pandemi COVID-19 . Retrieved from website: 

Badan Pusat Statistik. (n.d.). Prevention of Child Marriage Acceleration that cannot wait. Retrieved from website:

Kementerian Pemberdayaan Perempuan dan Perlindungan Anak. (2020). Profil Anak Indonesia Tahun 2020. Retrieved July 22, 2021, from website:

Nour N. M. (2009). Child marriage: a silent health and human rights issue. Reviews in obstetrics & gynecology, 2(1), 51–56. 

UNICEF. (2019). Child marriage. Retrieved July 22, 2021, from website: 

UNICEF. (2020, February 4). Child Marriage in Indonesia. . Retrieved July 22, 2021, from website: 

UNICEF. (2019). Saying No to Child Marriage in Indonesia. Retrieved July 22, 2021, from website: 


  • Arya Takbir Sambada – Human Rights Trainer
  • Rosyida Wenindita Hanum – Human Rights Education Facilitator