Thursday, February 5, 2009

"I no longer think about marriage"

The story of Nujood Ali, recounted in an article published Tuesday in Time, is truly horrific. Nujood is ten years old - and one of the youngest divorced people in the world, after she walked out on her husband, who was more than 3 times her age. The marriage was arranged by her father; she didn't meet her husband until her wedding day, when he took her to his family village, and beat and raped her every night. Nujood finally escaped to a larger city, where she walked into a courtroom and told a puzzled judge, "I want a divorce."

As if this wasn't bad enough, stories like Nujood's are very common. In Yemen, despite laws against child marriages, "52% of Yemen's girls marry before the age of 18, often as the second or third wives of far older men." And the law was certainly not on Nujood's side. Her father and husband were arrested, but released after 10 days.

It's no wonder that, when a reporter asked Nujood whether she hoped to meet her "Prince Charming" someday (right, because that's an appropriate question to ask a ten-year-old who has already been sold, beaten and raped within the institution of marriage), she said, "I no longer think about marriage."

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