Letter: Romance plays little part in the lives of most child brides

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From Ms Sue Rose

Sir: You suggest (leading article: "Sad tale of a modern-day Juliet", 25 January) that child marriages are OK on the grounds that in some places they are popular and culturally acceptable.

In male-dominated societies child marriages do not exist out of any sympathy for the romantic ambitions of 13-year-old girls. They exist to pander to the sexual tastes of men and to ensure that girls have little opportunity to develop independent lives and, instead, remain under the control of men. One thing the average child wife does not have, as a rule, is the support and protection to "flee" when things go wrong.

It is sad that, in your attempts to prove your cultural tolerance, you end up supporting a practice which is killing and hurting large numbers of girls worldwide. Cultural practices in all their many forms that specifically discriminate against females kill more women and girls around the world than any other single cause.

Yours faithfully,

Sue Rose

London, SW11

26 January