It is probably safe to say that thanks to the internet and social media, the population has been graced with the amazing talents of young people – boys and girls still in elementary or middle school – showcasing some of the most profound talents one would associate with a professional master. Akiane Kramarik created paintings that touched people’s hearts starting at the tender age of four. YouTube had videos of a boy who did an unbelievable job covering famous songs. That boy is Justin Bieber.
Now, the new young person on the internet is a 12-year-old girl who lives in Norway named Thea. She’s like any other young girl; she has hobbies, hers being cooking and riding horses. What makes her unique is that she’s engaged to a man who is in his late 30s. Thea even took to making a blog chronicling her path to the altar. She shows everything associated with the wedding such as deciding on her white dress, picking out wedding desserts, and even discussing what will happen on her wedding night. Thea seems to be an open book about this.
There is just one thing: the story is not real. So why is Thea putting up a charade? To help educate the public that around the world, there are girls who are truly forced into marriage against their own free will.
According to Pop Sugar, the story is an initiative created by an organization known as Plan International that works to protect the rights of children. Through their Norway branch (Plan Norway), they used Thea’s story to raise awareness about the issue in which the charity explained the purpose of the campaign.
“We believe that provocation is a powerful tool in order to demonstrate a reality that truly is very provoking. We hope people will mobilize against child marriage by being girl sponsors, so that most of the girls facing Thea’s situation every day can escape their brutal fate… Many girls dream about their wedding day and this day is often referred to as one of the happiest days of their lives. But for 39,000 young girls who get married every day, their wedding day is the worst day of their life.”
The campaign is seeing great success, primarily due to how realistic the portrayal of Thea’s situation is. As a matter of fact, the story is now going viral and Thea’s blog is being translated into other languages (since it is originally written in Norwegian). Huffington Post followed up on the article in which they reported some numbers that are quite disturbing. One in nine girls worldwide are married before they turn fifteen, and one in three are married before they turn eighteen. They even linked to Plan International’s official website and utilized one of their quotes for the story.
“Girls who marry early are most often deprived of the opportunity to reach their full potential and rise out of poverty.”
In conclusion, the Huffington Post made sure to hit the head on the button for their readers by utilizing a quote from activism website RYOT to bring up an inconvenient truth.
“If Plan has proved anything, it’s this: It shouldn’t take a blonde-haired, rosy-cheeked 12-year-old to make us care about child brides.”
Now that you’ve read the report, what are your opinions on Thea and her marriage? Is this a very smart way to bring an issue to the public? Please let everyone know in the comments below.
[Images via Thea’s Blog]