Runaway Yemini girl, 11, releases video against child marriage

An 11-year-old girl has spoken out against her parents after they tried to force her into an arranged marriage.

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by Closer staff |
Published on

In the emotional video, which has now been viewed over 2 million times on YouTube, Nada Al-Ahdal describes how she ran away from her parents after they tried to marry her off in exchange for money.

Nada managed to escape to her uncle’s house when she found out what her parents were planning.

Speaking out for other children who can't, she tells some heart-breaking stories about girls in similar situations, some of which she says ‘decided to throw themselves into the sea’ to avoid being forced to marry.

She also tells the horrifying story of her aunt, who too was forced into marriage.

‘My maternal aunt was 14 years old. She lasted one year with her husband, and then she poured gasoline over herself and set herself on fire. She died.’

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This is not the first shocking story of child marriages to come out of Yemen in the past few years.

In 2010 13-year-old Ilham Mahdi al Assi died of internal injuries just four days after she was forced to marry a man twice her age.

In 2008 Nujood Ali was granted a divorce at the age of 10, from a man 20 years her senior whom she was forced to marry when she was only 8-years-old.

Widespread poverty in Yemen has led to poor families selling their young daughters in a bid to improve their situation. Sadly, a 2010 report by the Social Affairs Ministry revealed at least one in four women in Yemen are married before the age of 15.

‘My maternal aunt was 14 years old. She lasted one year with her husband, and then she poured gasoline over herself and set herself on fire. She died.’

Although not the only country where child marriages are prevalent, the difference between Yemen and other countries like India or Ethiopia is that in Yemen child marriage is still legal.

Women are permitted to get married at any age and men cannot be tried for sexual violence against their wives, leaving young girls at the mercy of their attackers.

In 2009 a bill against child marriages was drafted, following a massive backlash from the public . The bill would set the legal age for marriage to 17, but was stopped by the government.

Despite a rise in protests over the last few years, the Yemini government have yet to do anything to tackle the issue of child marriage.

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