The Marriage Contract by William Hogarth
Child marriage has been prevalent in many cultures throughout human history.
In 16th Century England, 13 year-old Elisabeth Ramsbotham complained that her 11 year-old husband, John Bridge, had not yet deflowered her. ( Thomas Mann's Death in Venice)
Saudi Arabia is in the news because of child marriages.
In Saudi Arabia, "An 11-year-old boy gave out invitations to his classmates for a big event his family was planning this summer - and it wasn't his birthday party.
"It was his wedding to a 10-year-old cousin...
Clerics and others ... say such unions are harmful to the children and trivialise the institution of marriage." - Gulfnews: Saudi activists and clerics demand end to child marriage
A Saudi Arabian court is to rule next month on the divorce of an eight-year-old girl from a man in his fifties.
"The girl, who still does not know she is married, lives with her parents in the town of Unayzah, 135 miles north of the capital Riyadh. The marriage had been arranged in secret by her father.
"She is preparing to start the new year at primary school in the town, which is located in the conservative Najd region of the country - the spiritual homeland of the Islamist Wahhabi movement that has long dominated the kingdom.
"According to the Arabic-language newspaper Al-Watan, which reported the case, the divorce suit has been filed by the girl's mother." - Saudi Arabian girl, 8, seeks divorce