Sudanese Child Bride Faces Death Penalty for Killing Her Rapist Husband

Here at Care2, we’re big believers in the notion that kids should just be allowed to be kids — and that’s one of many reasons we oppose child marriage.

One third of girls in developing nations are married before they turn 18, though child marriage is also found in industrial countries like the U.S. These stories too often end in tragedy, as in the case of Noura Hussein, a Sudanese girl who was forcibly married at just 16.

Hussein’s aspiration as a teen wasn’t to get married. She intended to become a teacher. Instead, her family contracted with another family to marry her off.

Hussein reportedly responded by running away, and her family lured her back several years later, promising that to drop the subject of marriage and allow her to safely return home. Instead, she found herself ambushed with marriage and forced to move into her new husband’s home.

When Hussein made it clear that she didn’t want to consummate the marriage, her husband called on several male family members to hold her down while he raped her. And when he tried to do so again the next day, she fatally stabbed him. Hussein fled, seeking refuge in her family home, but her father turned her over to law enforcement.

In Sudan, it’s legal to marry as young as ten, with permission from the judiciary and a parent. Marital rape or forced marriage were not recognized as crimes in her case – despite the fact that marital rape has actually been codified into the law. Consequently, Hussein couldn’t use the human rights violations committed against her in her defense, and the court determined she was guilty.

It’s not judges who determine sentences in this case, though. In Sudan, the family member of the victim can decide whether a convicted murderer should be sentenced to death or ordered to pay a fine. The relatives of Hussein’s husband chose death, celebrating in the courtroom as the sentence was handed out. With just 15 days to appeal, her legal team is facing an uphill struggle.

Human Rights Watch notes that Hussein’s case is not unique in a nation with systemic human rights violations, including sexual violence. And women don’t just face physical and sexual assault; the country also has strict laws about “indecency” that can lead to public flogging or harassment for women who dress or behave in ways authorities don’t like.

The United Nations condemned the sentence and the death penalty in general, but the United States — which likes to position itself as a moral leader, despite having a president who brags about grabbing women by the genitals – declined to take a firm stance.

Hussein’s decision to fight back reflects what her legal team describes as a determined, spirited personality. Instead of having an opportunity to grow into an educator who instills self-reliance into the next generation of girls, Hussein is facing hanging. Meanwhile, other young girls are finding themselves in very similar situations, forced into unwanted weddings by their families, and subject to sexual and physical abuse from their spouses.

Take Action!

Join fellow Care2 activists and call for clemency for Noura Hussein by signing this petition.

Creating a Care2 petition is easy. If you have an issue you care deeply about, why not start your own petition? Here are some guidelines to help you get started and soon the Care2 community will be signing up to support you.

 

Photo Credit: USAID in Africa/Flickr

58 comments

Cindy S
Cindy S3 days ago

I mean good she killed him. poor girl

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Cindy S
Cindy S3 days ago

kill him

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Sabrina D
Sabrina D7 days ago

I signed the petition. Thank you so much for posting it; I hope that there will be justice for Noura.

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Sabrina D
Sabrina D7 days ago

How I wish I could kill HIM...

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RONALD Walker
RONALD Walker12 days ago

In today's world, it's hard to believe this is going on! Yet in many countries in Africa, no one cares and people just live with it. Time to move on into the 21st Century! Women are not sex slaves anymore and women can do more than just have babies. Asking for any help from mini brain trump is a waste of time! Mini brain trump only thinks of one's self!!!

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Cindy S
Cindy S12 days ago

kill the rapists instead!

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Janis K
Janis K14 days ago

You signed on May 14, 2018

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DAVID fleming
Dave f15 days ago

Makes my blood boil when children are bused like this

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ANA MARIJA R
ANA MARIJA R15 days ago

Signed/shared with hope.

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Mike A.
Mike A.20 days ago

Islam means peace in that they believe that there can only be peace when Islam rules the world with Sharia law. In short, Muslims believe they are warring towards world peace through force and slaughter, the same way Muhammad did.

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