Child bride in Yemen dies of internal bleeding on wedding night: activist

SANAA Tue Sep 10, 2013 12:58pm EDT

SANAA (Reuters) - An eight-year-old Yemeni girl died of internal bleeding on her wedding night after marrying a man five times her age, a social activist and two local residents said, in a case that has caused an outcry in the media and revived debate about child brides.

Arwa Othman, head of Yemen House of Folklore and a leading rights campaigner, said the girl, identified only as Rawan, was married to a 40-year-old man late last week in the town of Meedi in Hajjah province in northwestern Yemen.

"On the wedding night and after intercourse, she suffered from bleeding and uterine rupture which caused her death," Othman told Reuters. "They took her to a clinic but the medics couldn't save her life."

Othman said authorities had not taken any action against the girl's family or her husband.

A local security official in the provincial town of Haradh denied any such incident had taken place. He did not want to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

But two Meedi residents contacted by Reuters confirmed the incident and said that local tribal chiefs had tried to cover up the incident when news first broke, warning a local journalist against covering the story.

Many poor families in Yemen marry off young daughters to save on the costs of bringing up a child and earn extra money from the dowry given to the girl.

A U.N. report released in January revealed the extent of the country's poverty, saying that 10.5 million of Yemen's 24 million people lacked sufficient food supplies, and 13 million had no access to safe water and basic sanitation.

Human Rights Watch urged Yemen's government in December 2011 to ban marriages of girls under the age of 18, warning it deprived child brides of education and harmed their health.

Quoting United Nations and government data, HRW said nearly 14 percent of Yemeni girls were married before the age of 15 and 52 percent before the age of 18. The group said many Yemeni child brides-to-be are kept from school when they reach puberty.

Discussions on the issue were shelved by political turmoil following protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2011 that led to his ouster.

(Reporting by Mohammed Ghobari; Writing by Mahmoud Habboush; editing by Mike Collett-White)

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Comments (30)
tatman wrote:
this is beyond repellant. what kind of abominable and deranged society marries off their children to be brutalized, their young bodies torn apart by intercourse with adults? this is repugnant. yemen deserves to be isolated and sanctioned by the rest of the world for this type or barbaric, uncivilized behavior.

Sep 10, 2013 1:07pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
BurtAnderson wrote:
@tatman – It’s not just Yemen. This is sanctioned under Islamic law, and is practiced in many Islamic societies today.

Sep 10, 2013 1:40pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
GomerWumphf wrote:
You have to remember that women are mere chattels to orthodox Muslims.
Mohammed said that nearly all women were destined for Hell, so they must be unredeemably sinful. Dismember a girl? She was only getting what she deserved.

Have you ever noticed that in reports from the Muslim world where a
woman is quoted, her name always begins “Umm,” as in “Umm Ali?” Well,
women don’t really have an identity of their own in Islam. “Umm” means
“mother of.” So a woman’s only identity is as the mother of Ali, at
least to the world outside her family. If she has no children, she is
“daughter of” or “sister of” or “niece of,” depending on which male
relative is her “guardian” (i.e., owner). Muslim women, according to
Sharia (and there is no “strict” Sharia–there is only Sharia or else
lawlessness), may not even leave their houses without the permission and accompaniment of a male relative.

Sep 10, 2013 9:57pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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