Norway’s first child bride, 12-year-old Thea X, will walk down the aisle on October 11 to marry a man 25 years her senior – or at least that’s what a new, very controversial digital campaign would have us believe.
The campaign, which was created by Plan Norway, an organisation dedicated to children’s welfare, claimed the all-too-young student would marry 37-year-old Geir (pictured above) on October 11, which also happens to be the United Nation’s International Children’s Day.
Thea announced her intention to marry Geir via her bridal blog, which attracted more than half a million visits within 24 hours of its launch, making it Norway’s most visited.
However, after hundreds of concerned citizens contacted police and child welfare bodies to have the wedding stopped, it was discovered that the blog was an attempt to raise awareness of the nearly 40,000 child brides who are forced to marry across the globe every day.
Thankfully, Thea was never marrying Geir, however the authenticity of the blog caused much concern sparking media coverage and outrage among a very concerned community.
The blog contains a countdown to Thea’s alleged wedding day as well as regular wedding planning news, including pictures of the church where she is planning to wed and discussion about her trip to choose a wedding cake.
The campaign certainly highlighted the plight of child brides, however it has, understandably, upset many.
“We will show how horrible mistake a child ‘s wedding is by putting a tragic practice in a setting that we normally associate with love, happiness and hope for the future,” says Olaf Thommessen, Secretary General of children’s rights organisation Plan Norway on its website.
“For most girls, the wedding is one of the finest days of your life , but for the 39,000 girls who are child bride every day so it is the worst,” he adds.
“They are forced into violent and sexual relationships , unwanted pregnancy and unsafe pregnancies. They are robbed of their childhood , control over their own lives and the opportunity to get an education,” he said, adding, “We think it is good that people are provoked, for reality can be provocative. Now we hope people will mobilize in the fight against child marriage by being female mentors, so that most of the 39,000 barnebrudene [child brides] is in Thea’s situation every day get help in time.”