8-Year-Olds Should Not Be Forced to Marry, and This is Exactly Why

An 8-year-old girl should be going to school or playing with friends. She shouldn’t be married to a 40-year-old man or dead from internal bleeding caused by sexual intercourse.

Unfortunately, such is an alleged story from locals in Yemen where child marriage is still legal for girls. Hooria Mashhour, Yemen’s human rights minister, said the following about the incident:

This isn’t the first time a child marriage has happened in Yemen, so we should not focus only on this case. Many child marriages take place every year in Yemen. It’s time to end this practice. I personally have (talked to) the human rights coordinator for the ministry on the ground in Haradh, and he informed me that nearly everyone he spoke to is denying the story, but he feels strongly suspicious. We feel people may be hiding information due to fear.

There is still much confusion surrounding what actually happened. The police department has called the story “baseless,” while others are wondering whether residents are downplaying what happened out of fear. Government officials have said the little girl, Rawan, is alive in custody, while local sources are saying she has already been secretly buried.

Whether or not Rawan is still alive, the fact stands that the practice of child marriage is far too common. According to the United Nations Population Fund, more than 140 million girls around the world will be forced into marriage between 2011 and 2020. Fifty million of these girls will be under 15-years-old.

Earlier this summer an 11-year-old girl named Nada, also from Yemen, escaped a forced marriage by abandoning her family and going to live with her uncle in Saudi Arabia. A video surfaced of the young girl sharing her story saying:

What about the innocence of childhood?…I would have no life, no education… Don’t they have any compassion? They have killed our dreams. They have killed everything inside us….this is criminal.”

Please sign the Care2 petition calling on the Yemen government to set the minimum age for marriage at 17-years-old. Currently over 50% of girls are married before 17 so changing the minimum age in their new constitution would protect countless young girls like Nada and Rawan from becoming child brides.

Photo Credit: Gerri and Bonni

195 comments

Jim V
Jim Ven4 months ago

thanks

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Jerome S
Jerome S4 months ago

thanks for sharing.

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Lynn J.
Lynn Pascente3 years ago

This is nothing more than legalized pedophilia. It should be stopped immediately before any more children die. Even if they don't physically die, it's like a death in another way where their life is literally taken away form them. Not only in Yemen but in any country where this is allowed to go on.This has nothing to do with race, religion or country. It has everything to do with saving children from any men who want to abuse them sexually and by marrying them they get to do this legally.

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Tammy B.
Tammy B.4 years ago

I am so glad the little girl escaped to live with her uncle. I will pray for her continued safety and for others not so lucky as she but also like her. America has some barbarric ways too. There is no utopia on the surface of this earth as long as sin exists. How can anyone not understand that at 40 years old even if in their country they are legally wed that to then have sexual intercourse with an 8 9 10 or even 11 year old bride is rape? How can they not know it? I think it's just that rape must be ok in their land. It is rape no question. But it could be they either don't care one iota about the rights or feelings hopes lives or dreams of these young girls. Or it could be that they think like everyone is doing it it's ok. But we all know it's not ok. and it could be they just need to learn. I don't care at all if anyone thinks I am judging another.It is for the good of the innocent and pretty much helpless! So whoever you are putting that down, just get over it.

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Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson4 years ago

so heartbreaking :(

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Ganaisha Calvin
Ganaisha Calvin4 years ago

definitely signing

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Shari R.
Misss D4 years ago

Thanks for comments & GS, Eleonora O. ;-)

Guys, to clarify, as I said at the start of my post 'what happened in Yemen just now is horrendous.' What I am saying is that this does not define the entire country and all it's people and it is wrong to imply that it does. That is all.

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christina rivers
christina r4 years ago

My personal opinion is that I am not at all against others beliefs. I am extremely intolerant to those who do abuse children, and I truly think this is on a very high scale a form of child abuse. I think it is sick and you can't tell me that they don't know any better these men that they are raping babies. It's intolerant and just straight cruel. it's disgusting.

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Susan T.
Susan T4 years ago

you are being intolerant of others beliefs

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Eleonora Oldani
Eleonora Oldani4 years ago

To Shari - GS is on its way! Thank you for your precise and to the point comment.

On a number of occasions I've pointed out the hypocritical and bigoted behavior of some of the participants here and the media incl. Care2 as such – to no avail. It’s just the new (old) sport of bashing someone or something in order not to have to reflect on oneself. As long as we vilify, demonize and dehumanize another society, race, religion – pick your choice - we don’t need to look at ours and can still feel somehow good without lifting a finger for it.

In all this self-righteousness and arrogance one important fact gets forgotten: the real problem doesn’t get solved that way!

Stay safe!

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