UPDATE: According to Gulf News, the story of the death of the 8-year-old Yemeni bride is false. Mosleh Al Azzani, director of Criminal Investigation in the district the marriage was thought to have taken place, told Gulf News that he personally investigated the family, as well as they young girl named Rawan.
“When I heard the rumors, I called the girl’s father. he came with his daughter and denied the marriage and death of his daughter. I have the photos of the girl and will show it to anyone.”
However, the journalist who originally reported stands by his accounts.
The head of SEYAJ Organization for Childhood Protection, told Gulf news, “Some people create these stories to get publicity and attention and aid from international organizations.”
The good news is that this young girl is unharmed, although it is heartbreaking that some would exploit children to manipulate people around the world. The bad news is that the death of a child bride has happened in the past, previous accounts mentioned in the article below are legitimized. As well as the United Nations report that one in three girls in developing countries will be a child bride before they reach the age of 18.
Perhaps you remember the brave, eleven-year-old Yemenite girl who fled a forced marriage and courageously shared her story with the world, in hopes of preventing other girls from such a fate. Sadly, not all Yemeni girls have been as lucky as young Nada Al-Ahdal.
Rawan, an eight-year-old Yemeni child bride, has died from internal injuries sustained during her wedding night, due to sexual trauma. Rawan was forced to marry a man believed to be around 40 and activists are now calling for the “beastly groom” and the girl’s family to be arrested and face justice in courts.
The hope is that this case could be used to help put an end to child marriages, a common practice in the country.
Albawaba points out that the main obstacle is that there is no definition of “child”, offering little protection for those being affected. In February 2009, a law set 17 as the minimum age for marriage, but the law was repealed after lawmakers dubbed it “un-Islamic.”
The parliament constitutional committee is believed to review and make a final decision on the legislation this month. However, many believe regardless of the law, education is the most necessary tool, as many parents are illiterate and do not understand the repercussions of forcing young girls to have sex.
According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) more than 140 million girls will become child brides between 2011 and 2020. Of the 140 million girls forced to marry before 18, 50 million will be under the age of 15.
RYOT NOTE: This heartbreaking tragedy is sadly not the only one of its kind, with the reality that 140 million girls could allegedly become child brides, the future seems bleak. However, The Human Rights Watch is working towards a brighter future, as they are currently urging the President of Afghanistan to fight to end child marriage. They also advocate on behalf of victims globally, focusing international attention where human rights are violated, giving a voice to the oppressed and holding oppressors accountable for their crimes. To learn more, click the gray box alongside this story, donate and Become the News!