Sunday, June 5, 2011
I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali, Delphine Minoui
Forced by her father to marry a man three times her age, young Nujood Ali was sent away from her parents and beloved sisters and made to live with her husband and his family in an isolated village in rural Yemen. There she suffered daily from physical and emotional abuse by her mother-in-law and nightly at the rough hands of her spouse. Flouting his oath to wait to have sexual relations with Nujood until she was no longer a child, he took her virginity on their wedding night. She was only ten years old.
Unable to endure the pain and distress any longer, Nujood fled—not for home, but to the courthouse of the capital, paying for a taxi ride with a few precious coins of bread money. When a renowned Yemeni lawyer heard about the young victim, she took on Nujood’s case and fought the archaic system in a country where almost half the girls are married while still under the legal age. Since their unprecedented victory in April 2008, Nujood’s courageous defiance of both Yemeni customs and her own family has attracted a storm of international attention. Her story even incited change in Yemen and other Middle Eastern countries, where underage marriage laws are being increasingly enforced and other child brides have been granted divorces.
Recently honored alongside Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice as one of Glamour magazine’s women of the year, Nujood now tells her full story for the first time. As she guides us from the magical, fragrant streets of the Old City of Sana’a to the cement-block slums and rural villages of this ancient land, her unflinching look at an injustice suffered by all too many girls around the world is at once shocking, inspiring, and utterly unforgettable.
Can you even imagine being 10 years old and married? Your family marrying you off so you're not "another mouth to feed"? Imagine losing your virginity to a 30 year old man at the age of 10. Ridiculous. The customs in Yemen are strange and horrifying for young girls. The idea that a family thinks it is okay to marry off their daughter to some guy 20 years older than her is crazy.
However, Nujood Ali is a strong and courageous young woman. She stood up for the rights of young girls everywhere in hopes that no one else would have to go through the physical and emotional abuse that she was subjected to. Nujood Ali is a young girl smarter than her years. She was able to make it possible for other young girls to obtain divorces from their husbands so they do not need to go through any more physical or emotional pain. I am so proud of this young girl, and I hope that by her taking a stand that eventually young girls in Middle Eastern countries will not have to be subjected to this horrible violence and injustice.
Great telling of survival and the life endured by many young girls in Middle Eastern countries.