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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

April-15-08

Yemeni Girl Demands Divorce

Eight-year-old Nojoud Muhammed Nasser filed a lawsuit in Yemen against her father who forced her to marry a 30-year-old man. Nasser arrived to court by herself because no one in her family defended her against her abusive husband and father.

Nasser told the Yemen Times, "My father beat me and told me that I must marry this man, and if I did not, I would be raped and no law and no sheikh in this country would help me. I refused but I couldn’t stop the marriage. I asked and begged my mother, father, and aunt to help me to get divorced. They answered, 'We can do nothing. If you want you can go to court by yourself.' So this is what I have done."

Shatha Ali Nasser, a lawyer in the Supreme Court, said that the Nojoud case is an excellent opportunity to push legislation forward against child marriage. Nasser told the Yemen Times, "There are hundreds of [cases like] Nujoud who have been subjected to sexual abuse by mature men. The problem is that there is no law to punish the father who marries off the child, the sheikh who allows the marriage, or the husband who takes the child home to serve him as wife."

According to Saba News, a 2006 study revealed that 52.1 percent of Yemeni girls are forced into child marriage.

Media Resources: Saba News 04/02/08; Yemen Times 04/13/08, 04/09/08


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