Yemen: She lost her childhood at 8; embraces death after MARRIAGE?

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Yemen: 8-yr old girl dies on first night
It is usual to see an 8 year old girl hopping and playing in the school playground, or for that matter bickering her parents for a doll or a box of chocolate. But this was not to be for this girl from Yemen who was married off to a man 5 times her age. She not only lost her childhood, but also her life on the wedding night. It is reported that she died of internal bleeding and an uterus rapture.

What do we call this, if not another form of rape that is 'legalised' and therefore goes unnoticed. However, on a second thought, it is something more henious and shameful. It is marital rape committed against a kid.

Arwa Othman, head of Yemen House of Folklore and a leading rights campaigner from Yemen, said that the girl Rawan (name changed), was married to a 40-year-old man late last week in the town of Meedi in Hajjah province in northwestern Yemen.

She further adds,"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."

Exposing the internal loopholes of this Arab country, this shade of dark has left activists from across the world aghast. ON questioning the state authorities, they denied point blank but two citizens gave in. They even said that the local tribal chief had warned a journalist of covering this news.

Who do we blame?

Lack of education and pocverty seem to be the main reasons behind such incidents, especially when one goes through an UN report in January, revealing 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.

Moreover, United Nations and government data, HRW reported that nearly 14 percent of Yemeni girls were married before the age of 15 and 52 percent of the girls were married off before the age of 18. To add to the woes of the children here, child brides-to-be are kept from school when they reach puberty.

In such a condition, there is no possibility of an educated society that would understand the repurcussions of a child marriage. They would fail to understand that a girl's or a toddler's vagine are not developed enough for intercourse and rupturing them forcefully is fatal.

Social activists in Yemen say that many poor families marry off young daughters to save the costs of bringing up a child. It also helps them earn extra money from the dowry given to the girl.

What has been done so far?

Given the social restrictions and the mindset, nothing considerable has been done so far. Nevertheless, Human Rights Watch urged Yemen's government in December 2011 to ban marriages of girls under the age of 18, warning that it deprived child brides of education and harmed their health.

Discussions on these issues were brushed under the carpet with a political turmoil, following protests against the President Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2011 that led to his ouster.

Atrocities against women are a pan-global problem, but child marriages of girls as young as 8 is beyond any perception at any given point of time.

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