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In some places, you're old enough to be a grandmother

Even me.  And I haven’t graduated from college yet.

A startling and rather scary story has hit some blogs — that a 23-year-old woman is thought to be the world’s youngest grandmother.  Twenty-three years old.  Most people in America think that’s too young to have a child, much less a grandchild.

A summary of the family dynamics, from The Stir:

Rifca Stanescu of Romania was only 11 when she married a 13-year-old jewelry seller, out of fear of being married off to an older man in the village. By age 12, she had given birth to her first child, Maria. Maria apparently thought that was a pretty good set-up, and left school to get married at age 10, then promptly had a baby at age 11.

In truth, this is more like child rape than just young parenting — something that seems more like a medieval-era horror story than modern-day Europe.  It’s sickening, actually, and sad.  I’m a reasonably responsible twenty-two year old, and I’m not ready for the commitment of a puppy, much less a child.  From what I understand, they are a Roma family, and gypsies value virginity in brides very highly — so young marriage is common, to ensure that the bride is a virgin.   But there’s absolutely no reason, regardless of culture, for a child to get married (much less have a baby).  I would say it makes me feel a little bit better that it appears Maria had full consent in the matter (unlike her mother, who regrets her young motherhood), and wasn’t the victim of an attack — but can a ten-year-old actually consent to something like this?  The age of her husband is unclear.

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