News / Middle East

Yemeni Girl Escapes Early Marriage, Raises Awareness

Nada al-Ahdal, an 11-year-old Yemeni girl, who escaped an early, arranged marriage, is raising awareness about children and forced marriage.
Nada al-Ahdal, an 11-year-old Yemeni girl, who escaped an early, arranged marriage, is raising awareness about children and forced marriage.
Nada al-Ahdal, the 11-year-old Yemeni girl who says in a viral YouTube video that she ran away from home to escape a forced marriage, told Radio Sawa that money is the main motive behind her parents' intentions.
In the interview, she talked about the details of her ordeal. “I thought a lot about escaping my parent’s house during the night,  so at six a.m. I ran away by myself and I was not afraid,”  she said, and added that she is now under the protection of Yemeni Women Union, a nonprofit that empowers women and promotes their rights.
Nada has succeeded in attracting worldwide attention through her video in which she says “I would rather die than get married.”
She also asks in the three-minute clip, “What happened to childhood innocence? What have the children done wrong to get married off like that?”
Ahdal’s uncle, Abdul Salam al-Ahdal, told Radio Sawa his niece refuses to return to her parents because of their determination to marry her off.
He said attempts to persuade her parents to change their decision, especially the argument that she is too young to get married, have not succeeded despite the intervention of officials and humanitarian organizations.
He added that “radical Islamic parties” have threatened him and Nada because they want her and the whole case “to disappear” unless she submits to her parents’ will.
Nada Ahdal told Radio Sawa she is not planning to go back to her parents, whom she has not forgiven. She said she will solve her problem on her own, though she is not sure how. 
She said that her parents want her to marry a 22-year-old for financial purposes, the fundamental reason behind child forced marriage in Yemen.
“After I solve my own problem, I will try to help any other young girl going through the same situation as mine,” she said.
Her uncle said Nada, who had been living at his house since she was two years old, fled her parents’ house just two weeks after going back to visit them.
“I did not have an idea that her parents were planning for this marriage,” he said.
According to a Human Rights Watch report, widespread child marriage jeopardizes Yemeni girls’ access to education, harms their health and keeps them as second-class citizens.
The report also says there is no legal minimum age for girls to marry in Yemen and that many of them are forced into marriage as young as 8.
This report originally appeared on Radio Sawa. 

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Comment Sorting
by: dr.lyasimba from: Tanzania
July 28, 2013 2:05 PM
I thanks to God first because he is a one who give her this opinion/advice to run away from her parents,who force her to do things which is very dangerous to her health at all. In Africa there is many family who do like this. Many parents do this for their benefits so they force girls to get marriage while girl is still under 18 years thats why they don't develop due to poor feeling that they do.
And many family become dependants from others because this facilitate many girls to can't get education thats why many family have poor economy due to luck of education. I beg the Human Right organisation to fixs this problems so as to make our World best for all of us.

by: Neil Stahl from: Chapel Hill, NC
July 26, 2013 11:09 AM
The thing about this is, it seems to be from MEMRI, an Israeli propaganda outfit. It may well be true, in which case it's terrible, but given the source and the motivation of the source to make Muslims look bad so Israel can more easily keep stealing Palestinian land, I'd take the whole thing with a grain of salt.
In Response

by: Katerina Arzhayev
July 27, 2013 1:49 AM
What prompts you to say that Israel steals Palestini land? The five peace talks they have had since 1937 offering 90% of their land to the Arabs, each of which the Palestinians refused?
In Response

by: Lew from: here
July 26, 2013 2:36 PM
Muslims don't need much help to look bad. They treat girls this way all the time. The truth hurts!

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