Golden Press

Pre-Teen Nujood Broke Silence on Child Marriage

At the age of 10 young girls are often playing with dolls, ready to enter middle school, and learning how the world works from their mother. As Western culture is seen, but what happens when Western tradition is not a reality for Middle-East girls.

About 25 percent of Yemeni girls are forced into early marriage. A story of a 10-year-old Nujood Ali caught the attention of journalists Delphine Minoui. Ali described as tiny and feisty marched herself up to the courthouse steps of Yemen’s capital Sanaa to demand a divorce from a  man three times her age. The courage and boldness reminded Minoui of herself when first deciding to cover stories in Iran in 1997.

The Ali case has help to focus global media attention on young Yemeni girls forced into marriage and also allowed Ali to tell her story. Minoui not only wrote a captivating article of issues facing young girls of Yemen, but recently worked with Ali to have the article turned into a book. “I am Nujood, Age 10, and Divorced” was published in France in January 2009. It became a best-seller and since has been translated in 20 different languages. In March 2010 it was published in English by Three Rivers Press.

While a best-selling book has been created to depict tradition and inform America about economic issues around the world the story does not end. Ali will have to continue to fight the harsh fact that her father thought it would be better to sell her for $750 to a delivery man who would rape and beat her repeatedly.

Ali’s father explained to Minoui that he was a poor man with little education. He believed the man would provide Ali with more money and she would be safe from kidnappers.

Ali was not alone. In September 2009, a 12-year-old girl died giving birth and in April another 12-year-old died of internal bleeding after intercourse with her husband — a man twice her age.

Ali’s story with other Yemen girls does not continue without a solution. Nasser, Ali’s lawyer, says since Ali’s case she has handled nine more divorce cases of young girls married to older men. Nasser also added that she won favorable settlements for at least three of the girls.

According to the World CIA fact book Yemen is the poorest country in the Middle East where 1 in 2 is illiterate.


July 23, 2010 - Posted by | International

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