imho

I Was 17 When I Married A Man 15 Years Older Than Me. Here's Why I Regret It

"I thought that I was mature enough to be making a life-time decision at 17, and nobody could stop me because legally it wasn't wrong."

Cover image via Berita Harian

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What I'm going to say will be me exposing my dumb side. I am deeply embarrassed but I just have to say it.

I was married at 17, to a man 15 years older than me (that time) and yes. I WAS legally married. Do I regret it? Yes, I do.

That may sound harsh, but please comprehend my words carefully.

I regret the marriage, not that I tolak takdir (reject fate) for me to give birth to my precious son. I understand things happened for a reason, and apa yang jadi (what happened) was partly my fault too.

I was a stubborn and egoistic teen

I thought that I was mature enough to be making a life-time decision at 17, and nobody could stop me because legally it wasn't wrong.

It was permitted, and according to the laws... I wasn't doing anything that would be harmful for my life. Strongest point I used against my dad: "legal".

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via Berita Harian

It was a mistake.

He was much older than me, clearly knew what he wanted. And me, I was just wanting to be loved and cared for.

The marriage I thought was going to be my happy ending, just [turned] out to be a shortcut for him to get enough financial and self-care. While me? I suffer.

Imagine carrying a baby as a 17-year-old and your husband, a grown man, neglects your needs, physically and emotionally sampai tahap (until the point) my parents yang kena tanggung (have to sustain) both of us

After confinement, I worked and sustained him and our child instead. The term 'nafkah' and 'tanggungjawab' (responsibility) never once existed.

I stopped going to school and become a housewife even though his salary was not enough. Work two months, then quit.

Mind you, I was comfortable before I got married. After knowing him, I downgraded everything. I was a loyal wife. Never complained.

Since my child was born and until now, he has never contributed even 1 sen to my child

But because he was not working and was not able to, I was also too lazy to fight. If he's not able to, then what is there to fight about?

I was lucky because my dad loved me and his grandchild; but what about those out there who are less fortunate?

When I complained and got angry, he (the ex-husband) would answer, "dah tu kenapa pilih aku?" (Then why did you pick me?)

It was the same lah when we divorced, friends or society would taunt me with stuffs like:
"siapa suruh kahwin awal" (who told you to marry early)
"dah la kawin dengan orang tua" (marry an old person some more)
"lah, cantik pun kena tinggal?" (you're so pretty, but he still left you?)
"tula, pilih lagi laki entah mana" (that's why, you picked man from don't know where)

So to say that 'underaged marriage' is not harmful is quite biased

Mentally, it scarred me. The gaslighting, the blame, the neglect, the emotional abuse. The effect. But I know that thing was with my consent, so what can I do?... I yang pilih (I chose it).

So do you see where the problem is? When bad people see beneficial opportunities, they'll take it. And when you give minors (who are supposed to be supervised by adults) consent to sex and marriage, it equals to creating levels of problems following its sequence.

Oh and I came from a broken family, so please don't question how my parents handled me.

And not to mention the people who called me 'gatal p-ki' because I married early

And society who keeps asking me "you kahwin umur berapa" (at what age did you get married) and judge me afterwards.

And what did my ex-husband get? Nothing. No humiliation, no question, nothing.

There was only people teasing him for a having a "young widow".

Images for illustration purposes only.

Image via Mae Yen Yap/Mashable Southeast Asia

Nobody is saying it is wrong to 'halalkan yang haram' (legitimise what is illegitimate) to avoid sin.

But times have changed.

There are a lot of influences. Not many men who want to truly take care and protect according to Allah's will.

You say you want to curb it? Then why do we not curb child grooming and teen mums? It's about prevention.

[If] getting married young is legal in the eyes of the law, then why am I still judged when I say that I've been married before, have kids, and am divorced?

Is child marriage only good when it stays the way it is? If it fails, then the woman gets backlash.

This story was originally published on Twitter.

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Meanwhile, this writer talks about the heavy burdens Asian women are expected to carry:

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