Twelve-Year-Old Child Dies Three Days After Marriage

From UN Wire, a news service from the United Nations Foundation:

The death of a 12-year-old Yemeni girl, who died from internal bleeding caused by intercourse after her marriage to an older husband, highlights the dangers faced by girls in Yemen, a UNICEF representative said. One-third of girls there are married by age 18, according to the UN.

The blog of the international family planning organization, Population Institute, writing on the dangers of child marriage in Yemen, notes that the country is now considering a law which would ban marriage before age 16 but it’s meeting with “fierce resistance” from religious and rural leaders in the country.

Child marriage, or more precisely, the devaluation of girls’ and womens’ lives, is responsible for many dangerous and deadly scenarios in Yemen.

CNN, covering this most recent story, reports that:

In September, a 12-year-old Yemeni girl forced into marriage died during childbirth. Her baby also died, according to the Seyaj Organization for the Protection of Children.

As is the case with many issues related to womens’ and girls’ oppression, it often takes one courageous soul to ignite a spark of change. With this issue, in Yemen, the spark has come in the form of a now twelve-year old girl, Nujood Ali. Nujood was married off at 10 years old, to a 30 year old man:

She was married not long after that and taken away from her family to live with her husband and his family. Nujood’s husband raped her on their wedding night, even after promising her father that he would not touch her until a year after her first period.

The next day she was put to work around the house and she was not allowed to leave the house or play with other children her own age. Her husband routinely beat her and her mother-in-law did not offer any sympathy; she just told Nujood’s husband, “Hit her even harder. She must listen to you – she is your wife.” After weeks of rape, beatings, crying and begging she was allowed to go visit her parents. While there Nujood gathered all her courage and ran away to the courthouse to find a judge to grant her a divorce.

She was granted her divorce with the help of a judge who connected her with a lawyer with links to feminist groups. Since then, two more Yemeni girls were granted divorces and Nujood has written a book about her experiences.

You can read more here and here.

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  • mea

    by allowing little girls to be married and expected to participate in all aspects of the marriage Yemen is fostering state sponsored child abuse. There is no way a 10 year old can be expected to deal with intercourse and, at worst, pregnancy and childbirth. they should be outside playing games with other children or in school learning what they need to know to become fully educated adults. We need to do all we can to eradicate these Human Rights abuses!

  • pheasantweber

    It is appalling that this is allowed to occur. How can anyone think that is okay? Just … how? Won’t ever understand.

  • wendy-banks

    That’s just sick– But what can you expect in a place where woman have no rights? I’m suprized that the three girls were even allowed to divorce their husbands. I’m even more suprized that their families did not murder them in a ‘honour killing’ for wanting out of the marriage. Fundamentalist societies (and by extention fundamentalist religions) are fucked up because of they denigh equal rights to all.

  • prochoiceferret

    Fundamentalist societies (and by extention fundamentalist religions) are fucked up because of they denigh equal rights to all.

    Yeah. In addition to honor killings (“You be a good girl, or Daddy will KILL YOU!!!”), I still can’t get my head around “married woman gets raped, woman gets punished (by lashings) for adultery.” It’s like this weird, parallel, Kafka-on-steroids dystopia for half the population. You’d think the love that men have for their mothers, sisters, daughters would count for something.


    And people think womens’ biggest gripe in these societies is the burkas….