updated 7 Aug 2010, 10:37
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Thu, Aug 05, 2010
New Straits Times
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Placing high value on virginity

MALAYSIA: IN many societies, the practice of marrying young could be seen as a way to keep the virginity of the proposed bride and groom intact.

According to a United Nations report on child marriages, this is because these societies place a high value on maintaining virginity before marriage.

This is true for countries like India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

The report also noted that in countries like South Africa, early marriages were attributed to the high incidences of HIV cases, thus virgins were seen as suitable brides to prevent infection among the men.

In India, legally the minimum age for marriage is 21 for males and 18 for females.

However, a report on child marriages in India said that most of the communities favoured their age-old customs of marrying young.

The 2005 study claimed that 80 per cent of marriages were among girls under the age of 15.

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