Social Issues

Unemployment, trauma, addiction: the damage dealt by Iran’s child marriages

By Marina Villén

Tehran, Nov 13 (efe-epa).- Sahar Bandani is approaching 30 and is already a grandmother. She was forced to marry as a child.

Her case is nothing exceptional in Iran, where every year tens of thousands of child marriages take place despite the physical and mental damage it inflicts.

“I got married when I was eight-and-a-half and when I was 10 I had my first daughter. Later, I went through a series of problems in my life and I took tranquilizers,” she tells Efe, surrounded by three of her children.

Bandani is originally from Zahedan, the provincial capital of the southeastern Sistan and Baluchistan region, the poorest in Iran and one of the most conservative.

She says that the level of education in the region is “low,” and blames this for her marriage at such a young age, and that of her first daughter, which pitted Bandani against her father.


Bandani was just 10 when she held her daughter in her arms.

“I didn’t know how to look after a baby,” she says. “My parents took my baby to their house and looked after her there. My daughter knows I’m her mother, but she is used to her grandparents and she stayed with them until she was married at 13.”

After learning that her daughter had suffered the same fate as her, she cut off relations with her family.

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