Young Girl’s Wedding

Young Girl’s Wedding 

By NoelGRSr


Image: Theas Bryllupsblogg


Weddings are usually a time for families to get together and celebrate the love shared between two people. They’re not usually a time for viral internet campaigns demanding the ceremony is called off – but that’s exactly what happened in the case of Thea, a bride-to-be from Norway. However, all was not as it seemed – and there was a valuable lesson to be learned from her story.

Image: Theas Bryllupsblogg


Once Thea found out she was getting married, she started a blog to document her experiences. Like many a bride-to-be in the internet age, she published articles and photos showing her getting fitted for a wedding dress, tasting cakes and desserts, choosing flowers, and making name cards.

Image: Theas Bryllupsblogg


Thea may have been going through all the usual motions of a happy, excited bride-to-be. But she was far from happy – because there was a darker, unsettling side to this “fairytale” wedding.

Image: Theas Bryllupsblogg


Thea was getting married to a man called Geir. The problem was that, at 37 years old, Geir was a full 25 years older than Thea. At the age of just 12 – Thea was set to become, in fact, Norway’s first child bride.

Image: Theas Bryllupsblogg


Before she found out about her impending wedding, Thea was like any other 12-year-old girl. She loved listening to One Direction, hanging out with her friends from school, and – of course – taking lots of selfies. She even had her own Snapchat account.

Image: Theas Bryllupsblogg


But one day, Thea’s mom told her she would be getting married, quitting school, and moving in with her husband to cater for his every need while he went out to work. Her life was being turned upside down and mapped out before she had even become a teenager.

Image: Theas Bryllupsblogg


She wrote on her blog that she had dreamed of becoming a vet, but her mom told her it would no longer be necessary, as Geir would earn enough to look after both of them. She questioned why she shouldn’t be able to work, but couldn’t do anything about it. She would be spending the rest of her life home-making for Geir.

Image: Theas Bryllupsblogg


As the wedding preparations got under way, Thea took photos and posted them online. She went ring shopping with her mom and Geir, and while she liked the ring at first, she wasn’t so keen after her mom told her it was to help her remember that she belonged to Geir.

Image: Theas Bryllupsblogg


She also tried on wedding dresses, but the pink one she chose was deemed too childish by her mom, so she bought a more traditional white dress instead. Thea wrote on her blog that the shop worker behaved strangely towards her and her mom, and didn’t believe that Thea was getting married.

Image: Theas Bryllupsblogg


As the day of the wedding drew nearer, Thea became more and more upset with her situation. She realized that if she was to leave school, she likely wouldn’t see her friends as often, if at all.

Image: Facebook


To her distress, Thea’s mom also told her that she couldn’t invite any of her friends to the wedding. Thea decided to set up a Facebook event instead, so anyone could attend.

Image: Theas Bryllupsblogg


Norwegian visitors to Thea’s blog left many angry comments, unable to believe what was going on in their own country. More than half a million people read her story, with most outraged at what appeared to be happening.

Image: Theas Bryllupsblogg


One blog post by Thea in particular – titled, “I must do it with Geir??!!” – drew a stream of irate comments, as the young girl realized she’d have to have sex with Geir on their wedding night. She posted photos of women in lingerie, panicking about having to wear the same thing.

Image: Theas Bryllupsblogg


On the morning of her wedding, according to her blog, Thea broke down in tears while having her hair done. Her mom told her she had nothing to cry about, and was angry that her makeup was ruined. Things were going from bad to worse for Thea.

Image: YouTube/FADDERBARN


The national outrage at her ordeal spread to social networks, where the hashtag “#StoppBryllupet” (which translates to “Stop The Wedding”) started trending. Thea’s story went viral, and protestors even turned up to her wedding to show their indignation. However, there was more to the story than first met the eye.

Image: YouTube/FADDERBARN


It transpired that Plan International, a charity aiming to protect children’s rights, had set the whole story up as a stunt to raise awareness of arranged child marriages all around the world. The “wedding” was set to be held on October 11, 2015, coinciding with the United Nations’ International Day of the Girl Child.

Image: YouTube/FADDERBARN


Thea eventually left Geir at the altar, to cheers and applause from people attending the wedding (and protestors outside). But while Thea – who was eventually revealed to be a character played by Maja, a 12-year-old girl from Sweden – had the power to make that decision and call the wedding off, many other young girls around the world don’t. If they walk away, they could end up abandoned, homeless or even killed.

Image: Theas Bryllupsblogg


The stats on child marriage are shocking, so it’s no wonder Plan decided to draw attention to the issue with such a dramatic stunt. An astonishing 39,000 weddings every day involve a child bride, with one in nine girls in the developing world being married before they have turned 15.

Image: Theas Bryllupsblogg


Plan posted an update on Thea’s blog, which reinforced the seriousness of the issue: “Every two seconds there is a child bride… They are forced into violent and sexual relations, unwanted pregnancy and unsafe pregnancies. They are robbed of their childhood, control of their lives and the opportunity to get an education.”

Image: Theas Bryllupsblogg


Child marriage is largely taboo in Western society, but thousands of young girls are still forced into weddings at young ages all around the world. Hopefully, Thea’s story – as played out by Maja, pictured above with her mom – will help to bring attention to a cause that certainly needs to be recognized around the world.