Sunday, November 14, 2010

I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced

I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood All with Delphine Minoui

Nujood is a heroine to little girls all over Yemen because she stood up to her husband and parents by obtaining a divorce at age 10.  She is the first child bride in Yemen to obtain a divorce and her plight to end her marriage ended in International attention and the world came knocking on her door to learn her story.

Nujjod, age 9, was married against her will to a man in his thirties.  Her father arranged the marriage and on her wedding night she was raped by her husband.  She was a child who didn't understand what was happening to her and why her husband terrified and tortured her every night.  By day her mother-in-law refused to let her play with other children her age and made her work like other wives.  Nujood was able to escape her husband on a trip to visit her parents.  She ran to the courts in Yemen to demand a divorce, which was a incredible journey considering she was a unattended female in a Muslim country.

Note:  The picture is Nujood with her lawyer, Nasser.

Forced marriage of children is considered a violation of human rights and yet it happens all over the world, including right here in the U.S.  This story takes place in Yemen where most little girls are married by the age of 15 to men 30 years older than them.  Many girls are not educated, most are raped and many die young in childbirth.  It is major problem that is finally obtaining international attention.  The Yemeni government is trying to change the legal marriage age to 17 but most families choose ignore this, claiming it goes against Sharia or Islamic law.
"In Yemen, many factors drive fathers to marry off their daughters before they reach puberty.  Husnia al-Kadri reminds us that, poverty, local customs, and a lack of education play a role."  Family honor, the fear of adultery, the settling of scores between rival tribes-the reasons cited by parents are many and various.  Out in the countryside, adds al-Kadri, there is even a tribal proverb:  "To guarantee a happy marriage, marry a nine-year-old girl." Page 172.

Since Nujood has been divorced two other girls have have left their husbands and filed for divorce in Yemen.

I read this book aloud to my ninth grade Humanities class and it was very thought provoking.  The class and I learned a lot from Nujood.  I am very thankful that my 9 year old daughter never has to be forced into a marriage.  I am so thankful Nujood told her story in a book and I sincerely hope that women and men all over the world read this story.  My hope is that people all over the world will fight, help and educate women so that no one is forced to be a child bride.

Seriously, Read This Book!


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