Twelve-Year-Old Child Dies Three Days After Marriage

Amie Newman

A 12-year-old Yemeni girl is forced to marry and bleeds to death following sexual intercourse, three days later.

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.

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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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