A Norwegian 12-Year-Old Is "Marrying" a 37-Year-Old Man — but For a Good Reason

Thea likes to bake and ride horses, she LOVES One Direction, and the Norwegian 12-year-old is also engaged to be married to a man in his late 30s, according to her own blog. The site chronicles her path to the altar from her perspective, from picking out wedding desserts to trying on white dresses, and even discussing what will happen on her wedding night.

The good news: the shocking story is not actually real — for Thea, at least. However, there are forced marriages happening around the globe, and the initiative by Plan Norway — a branch of Plan International, an organization that works to protect the rights of children — has been launched to raise awareness about the issue. The charity explained the purpose of the campaign:

"We believe that provocation is a powerful tool in order to demonstrate a reality that truly is very provoking. We hope people will mobilize against child marriage by being girl sponsors, so that most of the girls facing Thea's situation every day can escape their brutal fate . . . Many girls dream about their wedding day and this day is often referred to as one of the happiest days of their lives. But for 39,000 young girls who get married every day, their wedding day is the worst day of their life."

The charity's campaign — due undoubtedly in part to the shockingly realistic portrayal of Thea's situation — is seeing great success. The story has gone viral, being shared across social media and new outlets globally. Thea's blog received half a million readers leading up to her "wedding" and spurred people in Norway and worldwide to take action. Supporters can donate to Plan or sponsor a child to help protect children's rights and aid in raising awareness about forced child marriages.

Plan Norway