The following story is heartbreaking, and even though it actually happened, I doubt it will make any difference whatsoever in the sick minds of the parents who marry off their young girls to older men, and the older men who opt to marry them.
It happened in Yemen where human rights and child rights activists have been desperately trying to change the marriage laws to adequately reflect the emotional and physical age that a girl might be ready to marry. They believe the age limit should be 18. But they’re butting heads with the Islamic extremists who believe a girl should marry at any age, after all their prophet Mohammad married one of his many wives when she was 10 years younger than the proposed age limit.
Islamic extremists and tribal leaders have been campaigning against a draft law putting 18 years as the age of marriage for about two years now.
The religious extremists say the draft law, under debates in the Parliament, does not go with what the prophet Mohammed did. They argue that the prophet got married to one of his wives when she was eight.
So if it was good enough for Mohammed it should be good enough for his followers. Well, I’m sorry, but it’s not! Ever. Good. And not only are the clerics trying their damnedest to keep this child abuse alive and kicking, they have the parents of these hapless girls believing it’s okay, too. Thousands of women were out protesting the ban recently in Yemen. Because they obviously care nothing for their daughters. Daughters like the 12-year-old Yemeni girl, Elham Mahdi Shuee, who was married off to a man in his 20s in Hajja (due north of Yemen). God knows what this man did to this young girl, but a mere 3 days after their wedding, Elham died in the hospital from internal bleeding. That’s right, the child died.
The bride Elham Mahdi Shuee, died in the hospital of Hajja where she was admitted after acute bleeding caused by sexual intercourse, said Majed Al Mathhaji, spokesman for Sisters Forum for Human Rights, NGO, concerned about the child bride.
Al Mathhaji confirmed that the medical report showed that Elham had suffered rupture of the womb.
This is why 12-year-olds should not be engaging in sexual activity, let alone married off. In Elham’s case, there was no dowry, there’s another tradition for marrying off young girls, apparently.
Elham was married off in what’s known in Yemen as swap marriage. Her husband’s family, did not pay dowry, but instead, they married off a girl in the same age to the brother of Elham, according to Al Mathahji.
After Elham died, the family of the husband went to take their daughter from her husband, said Al Mathhaji.
So, the parent’s of Elham not only lost their daughter, they lost their daughter-in-law, as well; but at least the parents of that 12-year-old girl still have their child, who they will no doubt marry off to another man.
The whole notion of child brides is sickening. I can hardly bear to mention the two words in the same sentence. And although one would hope that situations like this would spur the Yemeni government to enact those marriage laws, and even if it did get passed, they would still have a very difficult time changing the minds of the people, especially if the clerics continue to promote the practice. Very sad indeed.