Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Yemen Girl Married, Raped, Divorced, Beaten at Ten Years Old

Things I did when I was 10 years old:
1. Broke my left foot
2. Played with Barbie dolls
3. Rode my bike
4. Did arts and crafts
5. Watched MTV

Things this girl did when she was 10
1. Got married
2. Was raped by her husband
3. Told her story
4. Divorced her husband
5. Was then chastised by her society

Obviously there is a disconnect.

This poor girl's family sold her off to be married to some 30 year old loser who beat her and forced her to have sex with him. Her father's response:

"He was a criminal, a criminal. He did hateful things to her," he said. "He didn't keep his promise to me that he wouldn't go near her until she was 20."
Yes, he was a criminal, but so are you. You both should be ashamed of what you've done to this poor girl. I don't care what your culture is. Marrying off your 10 year old daughter is wrong, wrong, wrong.

The sad part is that this girl isn't alone.
Nujood's parents, like so many others in Yemen, struck a social bargain when they decided to have their daughter wed. More than half of all Yemeni girls are married off before the age of 18, according to Oxfam International, a nonprofit group that fights global poverty and injustice.
So when these girls should be doing arts and crafts and playing with dolls they're getting married to older men.

I'd love to be culturally accepting, but things like this remind me why deep down I'm not always as open-minded as I think I am. There are some boundaries for God's sake. And their government condones such practices.
In Yemen, there is nothing new or extraordinary about Nujood's story because children have been married off for generations. The country's legal minimum age for marriage was 15 till a decade ago, when the law was changed to allow for children even younger to be wed.
Wow. Like 15 is an appropriate age to get married! I was 26 and wondered if I was ready, but 15 is just obscene.

The glimmer of hope is that the girl in this story is getting her revenge:
"I did this so that people would listen and think about not marrying their daughters off as young as I was," she said with a shy smile.
God bless your little heart.



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