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How blessed I am

I remember the planning, the excitement, the anticipatory joy of my wedding.

I remember my dress with the lace and the sequins.

The flowers.

The cake, the church, the vows.

The guests, the music, the dancing.

I was a 24-year-old bride at the center of  a gorgeous event. And, while the marriage itself didn’t last forever, the memories of that day are precious to me.

What’s more precious to me now, though, is the idea that I chose marriage. I chose my  husband. I chose when and where and how to marry. I chose it for myself as an adult.

I may choose to marry again. Or not.

Many many girls in this world do not have that choice.

And, while child marriage is a universal violation of human rights, it happens every single day. In fact, it happens 25,000 times a day.

One in nine girls, or 15 million, have been forced into marriage between the ages of 10 and 14.

These child brides are treated as property and are twice as likely to be beaten by their husbands.

International Day of the Girl | CARE

Take time today to educate yourself on this important issue.

Then take a stand. Tweet about it. Share it on Facebook. Talk to another person about it.

We can begin to change things.

Girls can begin to believe in their own value.

And those who control them can be confronted.

We can turn this around.

And someday, girls throughout the world will have the same choices I had: education, marriage, children — My choices. My life.  On MY timeline.

Please share this message to make choice a reality for all girls.

Speak. Because they cannot.

This post supports the International Day of the Girl on October 11th on behalf of CARE.org and Charitable Influence, a network of bloggers using their voices for good.