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Anorak | Rawan: The West Uses An 8-Year-Old Bride Killed On Her Wedding Day To Gain Control In Yemen

Rawan: The West Uses An 8-Year-Old Bride Killed On Her Wedding Day To Gain Control In Yemen

by | 22nd, November 2013

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THE story of the eight-year-old Yemeni  bride who died of internal injuries on the first night of a forced marriage to her 40-year-old groom is all over the web.

The Daily Mail’s Matt Blake reports on Rawan, who lived and died in the Hardh, northern Yemen.

An eight-year-old child bride has died in Yemen of internal bleeding sustained during her wedding night after being forced to marry a man five times her age, activists have claimed.

Which activists the Mail doesn’t bother to report.

Angry Man, a blogger, posted that the man was ‘an animal who deserved to be punished severely for his crime’.

Is it a crime in his country? And what crime would it be? The facts are sketchy. Still, Blake offers some background:

Child bride: The practice of marrying young girls is widespread in Yemen…

There was a law in Yemen setting the minimum age for marriage at 17 . It was repealed after some lawmakers said it was un-Islamic.

The BBC reported earlier this month:

The human rights ministry in Yemen says that one of its officials has managed to stop the wedding of a nine-year-old girl, due to take place on Friday. An official told the BBC it was the first such intervention to stop a child marriage in Yemen. The child, Hiba, was due to have been married on 8 November in the southern city of Taiz…

Fuad al-Ghaffari, a senior official in the office of the Human Rights Minister, Hooria Mashhour, said he was proud of the action taken by his colleague, as well as the police.

The women’s rights group, Equality Now, has listed the stories of some of the young girls who have been through this experience.

Wafa, it says, was married at 11 to a 40-year-old who raped and tortured her. A lawyer hired by the group and the Yemeni Women Union managed to arrange her divorce.

Another 11-year-old, Fawziya, died in childbirth.

Salwa, a 12-year-old girl, killed herself by throwing herself off a roof.

All terrible. And all unsupported by any evidence. The BBC then adds:

A recent, widely-reported case, which was not officially corroborated, of an eight-year-old girl said to have died of internal injuries after her wedding night, prompted renewed calls for action.

Terrible, of course. The ages of those girls makes the story travel. But what is a child bride?

Millions of girls across the world end up as child brides, despite the practice being outlawed in many countries. But some girls are defying their families’ attempts to marry them off. Some 10 million girls a year are married off before the age of 18 across the world, according to a Unicef report released this year.

You can get married at 16 in the UK. And in India , for  example:

While child brides in Rajasthan tend to be married off very young, it is usually to grooms of a similar age and it is not until they are older, about 15 or 16, that they actually start living together as man and wife.

 

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Fourteen year old Bablu, left, wearing a garland made of Indian currency tries to remove the veil of his twelve-year-old bride Mata Bai, outside a temple after offering prayers in Rajgarh, about 155 kilometers (96 miles) from Bhopal, India, Friday, May 6, 2011. 

 

The focus is on the women and girls. Nicole Bailey writes:

Girls as young as six years old are being forced into marriage in those countries, many enduring rape, physical trauma from intercourse and childbirth, and torture several on record have died from their wounds or committed suicide. Ensuring minimum marriage laws are passed in these countries is a top priority for many supporters of human rights around the world.

The tragic stories pouring out of these countries in the present day are too numerous to count: A selfish drug addict sells his child daughter to a man four times her age. A thirteen-year-old bled out and died three days after her wedding as a result of sexual violence perpetrated by her husband. The fact that these stories can exist in 2013 is inexcusable

She adds:

Although the outcome of the proposals in both Yemen and Saudi is unclear, there is hope that the critical mass of pressure both within the region and internationally will suffice to see the measures through. We must protect our children, and especially our girls, from this most vicious abuse. Our country, world, economy, education, and humanity depend on it.

Wow. So much depends on ending a foreign culture we in the West might not like.

PBS notes:

In Southern Asia, 48%—nearly 10 million—of girls are married before the age of 18.

In Africa, 42% of girls were married before turning 18.

Should these marriage be banned? And how can they be prevented? Maybe if the media is so terrible and focuses on the abuse of minors, the UN will create laws and see that they are enforced although how they will do this is a moot point?

“If you make a law it will not stop a tradition—especially in Yemen, where the police are basically nonexistent in some parts of the country,” said Sama’a Al-Hamdani, an independent Yemeni analyst and writer. “You don’t have the luxury to be a teenager in Yemen: you are a child, and then you are an adult.”

The EU foreign policy

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