The thought of an 80-year-old man bedding down an 11-year-old girl is nauseating. But there are those who still justify marrying pre-pubescents for cultural and religious reasons, in spite of the dangers and moral issues involved. Saudi Arabia seems to be the most prolific when it comes to those kinds of situations, or perhaps it’s just because they have more vocal human and children’s rights activists that protest such unions. But as much as those activists protest the practice, it still continues to this day. Fathers, and it’s usually the father, make deals with older men to marry their little girls, the mother and the little girl object, but the courts rarely do anything about it, since the Saudi government has yet to regulate underage marriages.
In the most recent case, a father offered up his 11-year-old daughter to an 80-year-old man for 85,000 riyals. Basically the dad sold his daughter for $22,000.00. And although the girl’s mother was very against the marriage, and was the one to report it to the media, the father could have cared less.
“I don’t care about her age,” he told the paper. “Her health and her body build make her fit for marriage. I also don’t care what her mother thinks.”
The father added that marriage at such an early age has been a custom in the Saudi society for a very long time and that he saw no reason why it should be a problem now.
“This is a very old custom and there is nothing wrong with it whether religiously or socially.”
The octogenarian happens to be the father’s cousin, and married to 3 other much younger women who probably have kids the age of the little girl. He claims the father was the one who approached him with the marriage proposal, and that he was fully aware of the mother’s objections. And yet he still agreed to it, and has no clue why there is so much outrage.
The groom expressed his surprise at how the media leveled harsh criticism against him and his family for marrying the girl.
“It is very simple. We didn’t do anything wrong. It is a valid contract that meets all the conditions for marriage? What’s the point of all this fuss?”
There is something desperately wrong with an 80-year-old man who feels the need to marry a pre-pubescent girl. Marriage or no, it’s still pedophilia. And it seems that there are plenty of people who see nothing wrong with it, including the marriage registrar who married the couple, knowing full well the child’s age.
“There is no law that prohibits the marriage of a girl under 18,” he told the paper. “Plus, I summoned the girl and she declared her consent and signed the contract.”
Regarding the consummation of the marriage, the registrar said he does not have the authority to dictate when it should take place, especially that the bride’s father did not mention it in the contract.
When asked if he felt the marriage was wrong due to the age gap, the registrar said: “I do not look at age differences and things of that sort as long as the bride approves. Also, the contract is legal and it was registered in court.”
The problem is the bride did not approve. What female in her right mind, especially a child, would want to marry an old man. The father is lying because he wants the $22,000.00, the old man is lying because he wants to satisfy his lust for a young girl. The little girl just wants out:
“Save me. I don’t want him,” she cried.
Thanks to the mother, the National Human Rights Commission will now investigate the situation, but it isn’t until the Saudi government makes laws banning underage marriages will little girls be totally safe from selfish, money grabbing fathers and dirty old men.