Syrian refugees married early face isolation and domestic violence | Financial Times
Syrian student Nour wistfully examines her bare ring finger, then scans Women were generally expected to marry in their 20s, but the lack of. AMMAN, Jordan — Aydah Alshraidab knows firsthand how early marriage can hold you back. A Syrian now living in Jordan, Alshraidab's. Free syria Muslim Singles Dating, Marriage or Matrimonial pinkygurl. Syria, preciousgold. Syria, lindaelonen damascus Syria. alia Damascus Syria.
A deal struck last year between the EU and Turkey has made it easier for refugee children to enrol in Turkish schools and have access to free healthcare and birth control.
Meet the Syrian women educating refugee girls about early marriage
Still, only about 40 per cent of Syrian children attend school. AboutSyrian refugee girls are enrolled in temporary education centres and Turkish public schools, but enrolment drops significantly after the eighth grade for both girls and boys, says Sema Hosta, a spokeswoman for Unicef in Turkey.
Many work on farms with their families, as street vendors, or in factories. Turks, too, break laws designed to protect adolescent girls. There are reports that migrant workers and Turkish landlords have sexually abused girls on farms, says Rada Omrain, a project manager with Watan, a non-governmental organisation that works with Syrian refugees.
Watan helps victims of child labour and gender-based violence, offering families subsidies for their rent — the biggest expense for refugees in Turkey — in exchange for a promise that they will send their children to school. Turkish men illegally marry Syrian child brides as second wives, who have no rights under Turkish law: Even before the influx of Syrians, one-third of marriages in Turkey involved child brides.
The Turkish government and multiple NGOs have launched programmes to educate and teach families about the dangers of child marriage and the importance of birth control, to avoid the early pregnancies that can cause health problems in young girls, even death. But the response, especially from men in the community, has been negative, says Rahaf Khouja, a caseworker with Watan. Education and awareness-building are crucial. Khouja says that, increasingly, girls and women are not ashamed to speak out.
Once they know their rights, they are more likely to report abuse to the Turkish police. Domestic violence is another serious problem. Syrian women believe that domestic violence has increased in their communities because their men have lost their status, incomes and dignity as refugees. Khouja has worked with hundreds of people in refugee families in Ankara, doing surveys and delicately asking questions about domestic violence.
She knows Altindag well and takes me to the home of a refugee family, where she first went to offer health services to the disabled father. Leila told Khouja she was afraid to go because her husband might kill her. With a little more prodding, Khouja discovered Leila had been married at 17 to a Syrian man who was abusive. However, few such divorces are official, since the marriages are performed in private by clerics and hold no legitimacy in Turkish courts. We meet Sana at home.
As she begins to talk, some neighbours poke their heads round the sheer curtain hanging in the doorway. Sana stops talking, but Heba says if we want to hear stories of domestic violence and early marriage, her family and, in fact, the neighbourhood could tell us volumes.
She brings us to meet Dalia. Heba says she and her husband, Hisham, often blame themselves for what happened to their daughter, but that it must have been her nasib, an Arabic word meaning destiny.
The family fled their home in Aleppo three years ago with their four children, of whom Dalia is the eldest, as the civil war raged. To escape the shelling, the family first moved to Suran, a village km south of Aleppo, but Isis seized the area shortly afterwards and, after Hisham saw the Islamist extremists beheading local Syrians, the family left again and walked across the border to Turkey with the help of human traffickers.
Khouja says many child brides are not forced but persuaded to marry. Formerly a street vendor, she moved to Antakya in Februarylured by the promises of a matchmaker known as Abu Khalil. She thought she was in for a better life: She is now a cleaner in a hotel in Gaziantep. Umm Abdu continues to fend off advances from matchmakers who are interested not only in her but also in her year-old child.
But now she knows better. He has no hair! The pair requested their real names be withheld to protect their privacy. In the Syrian refugee community in Turkey, the term has taken on a more sinister character. Matchmakers now go by several different names: It is not the kind of profession that is publicly acknowledged. The men in the business often engage in illicit cross-border trade between Syria and Turkey, or sell drugs on the side.
Women tend to keep a low profile and take smaller commissions. Pimps, matchmakers, drug dealers, and traffickers work in overlapping circles along the border, leading to a common code of conduct and language. Many Syrians claim to be outraged by the exploitation of their women but actively contribute to the problem.
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Fahed Alajali, a wiry young man with a thinning ginger mane, is less bashful. He entered the business soon after arriving in Turkey with his wife in In the community of Sanliurfahe is widely known as a broker, while his wife is famous for her okra. The last deal he cut ended in the union of a Syrian girl and a Turkish man in the coastal city of Mersin. For the introduction, Mr. Perils of unregistered marriages Such unions are typically officiated by local sheikhs and rarely documented with state authorities.
Syrian women who marry Turks as their second wife can encounter serious problems.
If the marriage fails, they are not protected by the law, nor are their children. In some cases, the men want a short-term marital union, or prostitution with a moral mask. Within weeks, the Syrian bride might find herself sleeping on the streets, alone and disgraced, at risk of an honor killing if male kin find out. Since these marriages are not registered with the authorities, the hamstrung husbands are unable to reclaim their brides.
In some cases, they succeed in tracking them down, only to find them in the arms of preexisting partners. While tales of deceit run in both directions, not all unions end in disaster. Turkish men are credited with stepping in as generous providers for war-torn families.
Marriage customs always change as a result of war. In the end, legislation will catch up. A Muslim sheikh is due to wed the pair in the coming weeks. Their union will not be documented with state authorities. A point of contention that remains to be resolved is the dowry.