Sunday, April 11, 2010

Thoughts on the Death of a Yemeni Child Bride

I am speechless. I have so many questions that will never be answered and this story will be put up on the pile of other horrific stories about the exploitation of women universally. I haven't cried in a looong time, but after reading the details of this poor little girl's story I couldn't help but sob. You try to make sense of it all, you try to understand how things like this really happen, but in the end youre left with unanswered questions and sheer grief.

Its almost unbelievable. It begins in Yemen (our backyard) with a young selfish man who wants to get married. He makes a deal with his friend; "I'll trade you my sister for your sister", the friend agrees and the young men are relieved to avoid dowry costs. Like cattle, a 13 year old child, Elham is traded, without consent, for another girl, and like cattle her future is the same. At this point I wonder...

Why didn't someone, anyone in her family try to stop the brother from marrying her off against her will???  She was a mere 13, her to-be husband was a 23 year old man.Why didn't any family member attempt to protect her?

No one stops the marriage and the little girl is sent off to her husbands home. She dies three days after the marriage trade. Her husband, or more appropriately, murderer was so keen on having sex with her that after several failed attempts to "do her", he went to the Drs. requesting tranquilizing drugs so that he could complete the deed without having the child resist him. The Dr. refused him. What a sick, disgusting, good for nothing dog of a man!!!!  But doesn't that leave you to wonder...

Why just refuse him? Why not investigate the situation. What kind of man asks a Dr. for drugs in order to rape his wife? He should have been arrested on the spot!! Why didn't the Dr. help to protect Elham?

So since he couldn't get his hands on tranquilizers, the scum decides to get a hold of performance enhancing pills, and that night rapes her to no end. He ties her up and rapes her until she is unconscious.
He takes her back to the same clinic, this time carrying her because of course she can't walk. The admirable Dr. tells him that she has severe tears in her vagina and not to approach her for 10 days. WHAT THE HELL?!!! A man brings in a CHILD, who is obviously violently raped and has suffered tremendously and your prescription is "give her a ten day break?" The Dr. should be locked up forever.

Elham's mother visits her later that day and finds her in and out of consciousness, Elham tells her mother that she was tied up and raped. Ehlams husband murderer tells the mother that Elham has been possessed by spirits and that he planned on taking her to a witch doctor that day. Of course, Elham never makes it, she dies shortly after. A forensic report later says that Elham suffered extensive damage to the vagina and rectum and was bleeding internally which led to her death. The report suggests that there was more damage from the first examination. Even after she couldn't walk and was bleeding, and he was told not to touch her for at least ten days, this animal goes for the kill, and rapes Elham some more.

So just like that, a child is married off, brutally raped, and dead within three days. I can't begin to imagine what those three days were like. She must have been terrified of him, she probably wished someone would rescue her. Did she call on her mother? her brother who traded her? did she call on God?  And when she could no longer muster the energy to scream, what thoughts swirled in her head? She probably tried to think of the happy moments in her life, even briefly or maybe she just wished for death so that the pain would cease. I can only wonder

After sobbing for Elham and thinking of my own children I vowed that I would never forget Elham in my  prayers.

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  1. Rania, I read this story in the paper. I am so horrified for these poor girls in Yemen. 1 in 3 girls marry before 18 in Yemen. I respect Moslems but I will never understand how it is okay to marry a child. Do they think God is happy with this?

    I appreciate your thoughts and agree in full with you, he was an animal and should be castrated and left to bleed to death. We should all pray for her no matter what god we believe in.

  2. I can't believe this... So now marriage is like money to them? It comes and goes?!

    What the hell is wrong with the stupid doctors?! Don't they have any sense of justice? Are they BLIND?!

    May Allah take her to heaven and punish her murderer and show him hell!

    I really wish this story opens the eyes of millions of people and teaches them something. But knowing the world I am in now, this story will not be remembered by more than at most 15 people...

  3. Asalaamu `alaikum,

    I have heard & read so many stories... My mind just tries shut it out or else I get nightmares. After the Mousa incident in Dubai... I can't tolerate hearing about anymore children being raped, assaulted, murdered and emotionally traumatized. Even if they DO recover and live a long life, it is something that will be with them forever.

    Yemen and it's laws regarding child-marriage have been in the news lately, ever since an EIGHT-year old won the right to divorce her 30-something husband. *shivers* A`uthu billah!!

    Elham was still a baby too!! Instead of being frickin' torn apart by some sex-crazed man, she should have been going to school -- doing homework -- building projects!!!! Not being married off and then dying 3 days later!!!! Astighfor Allah!!!

    Unfortunately there are many Elhams out there -- not only in Yemen. This practice seems to be common in poor, un-educated populations.

    How much longer do we have to hear about young girls becoming just another victim?

    It NEEDS to stop. NOW.

    JazakiAllahKhair for writing this post.

  4. May God rest her soul ... I am grateful there will be a Judgment Day.

    What else can be said?

  5. Yes May God rest her soul, but I think so much more can be said. More needs to be done to put these practices to REST. Forget the government, forget laws and regulations that mean nothing to society. The PEOPLE need to do something. THe PEOPLE need to start changing their view of marriage and women.

    Why did Elham's mother allow her to get married in the first place? What mother convinces her daughter to try and have sex with her much older, much bigger husband? Why didn't she lay the law down to her pervert of a son and tell him hell no you can't marry off MY daughter just so you can get laid. There are too many people here to blame. The whole damn village should get together and make sure these types of marriages never happen again.

    Instead, more perverted, sick men will look for the next little girl to make their pet.

  6. This story has bought real tears in my eyes. Thank you so much for writing this. To be honest I read the headline but didn't bother to read the article. I regret that so often these horrific stories aren't heard enough in order to ignite change from the masses. Thanx again.

  7. I could not even read this post till the end. I would castrate him with my own hands. I hope if people don't punish him, God will.

    Such sick things :(

  8. I agree that these practices need to stop in society. Just another proof how all-around education is needed in the country, how many changes are needed to be done in backwards Yemen. Another proof hat only "religious" education is not enough- what's the use if women are covered from head to toe when they allow such things to happen to their daughters and sisters- shame, shame, shame on all of us.


  10. ... horrific. I think they should punish all those involved.

    Also the MOTHER. As a woman she could have known what the consequences for her daughters body would be.

    Where was the father? What kind of a father would allow his child to be abused like that?

    The doctor has sworn an oath to save people so he should never be able to practice medicine again and he should also be prosecuted.

  11. How old was the mother? 26? 27?
    I don't blame her - she is almost as much a victim as her child. Why do you think she could have done anything about this?

  12. actually the mother was 50 years old. elham was one of like 8 kids.

  13. Sorry, it was not me who posted a link to my blog- it's not directly related to this topic even... So you can remove it...

    What I meant when talking about these Yemeni women all covered up- is that they are responsible for such things to happen. They cover themselves not to tempt men with their faces, they submit to religion to the maximum, but they cannot stand up for themselves and their daughters.

    Of course my generalizing is wrong and may offend many good Yemeni men and women. It's easy to accuse... I'm sorry.

  14. I'm bemused at the frequent references to God in these comments.

    It seems to me that one of the root causes of this horrific crime was a belief in "God".

    If "God" was on the case, he might have done something a little earlier, n'est pas?

  15. dont the Bedu in Oman still consider a girl of 14 old enough for marriage ?

  16. and don't forget that rape within marriage is not a crime in Oman either.

  17. And maybe men under 27 years of age shouldn't get married? just to make sure they're mature..

    I wonder how my experience in marriage will be.

  18. UD - God is not to be blamed for the sick and twisted things human beings do to each other. Why? 'Cause that is a part of the whole 'freedom of choice' that He has given us.

    What would be the point of this life, and where the freedom, if He was to take away our choices? Unfortunately, in order to have the freedom to choose good things we also have the freedom to do horrible things ... hence why it is called freedom. But He is watching.

    Also, you should remember that this world and our perception of things is based on opposites - for if there was no hate, love itself would be hard to define, if there was no war, peace would not be a concept, if we couldn't lie, truth would not exist, and without evil, good would be superfluous ... hey, if there was no heat, how could we think of something as cold?

    In a way, though her the manner of this little girl's death stupefies and dumbfounds us, her death in itself is a blessing in this case. God has seen what horrors she has had to endure, and has taken her under His wings, to forever protect her against further abuse. I know she is now in a better place, where love reigns supreme and ultimate justice will eventually follow for her killer and those who allowed him to kill in the first place. See, God does not forget, even though we may with the passage of time.

    Furthermore, it is not in any way, shape or form that the belief in God is the reason or cause of these unforgivable events. Belief in God inevitably means belief in, and possession of, love towards all of his children ... and 'love' is certainly not what this sick %#$@& of a 'husband' felt towards little Elham, or her family, or anyone but himself.

    It is not in spite of, but precisely because of, these kinds of terrible things that occur on a daily basis around the world - that I CHOOSE to believe in God. Even so, I am constantly horrified by the cruelty, hate, pain, torture, etc. that human beings are capable of doing towards each other. Knowing that those who get away with murder, thievery, all kinds of twisted, disgusting things in this world, will get their just rewards eventually, just as those who have suffered, or sacrificed to do good / right things, allows me to go on with this life - to fight to do my very best. Otherwise, how do you do it? Why do you get up in the morning? Why do you work? Why not cheat on your wife? Why not lie, cheat, steal, kill, to make your life more pleasant in the here and now, if that is all there is to it?

    BTW - I am not any kind of a fanatic, nor preacher, nor sinless, etc. Neither am I Muslim, but actually a Christian expat. However, despite various doctrinal differences, I think all of us who believe in God, whatever religion we may belong to, feel and think along the same lines I've expounded upon here.


  19. Check out this story in the NY Times - The Women's Crusade ... some very interesting suggestions on how to turn oppression into opportunity:

  20. Hop over to the English Sabla.

    Some of the men / animals / filth / scum choose to defend this using a religious streak.

    R.I.P to the poor little soul. Must be in a better place now.

  21. May she rest in peace! The first thing that follows when such a horrible crime occurs is a spiteful attack on Prophet Mohammed (alayhi-ssalaam). People of other faiths are being misled by the media based on fabricated reports that Aisha was married to the Prophet when she was a child. This is a deliberate paint of falsehood on Islam. Aisha was a grown up woman at the time of her marriage and there is not a single account of the whole history of Arabia that recorded Aisha's union with the Prophet as a child marriage.

  22. Alhamask: Thank you for stopping by and sharing. When referring to Aisha (ra) as a "grown woman" do you simply mean she went through puberty or do you mean she was "grown" in age? I'm a little confused :)

  23. Alhamask:

    Ah! Ok I see.

    Maybe, just maybe, he was nurturing young talent no?

    ' one for the future, one who would make a great mother, teacher bla bla bla '

    Same old tripe, Islam is being blamed, it's all a lie, look into your sleeve first and all the usual excuses etc etc.

    Not one in your post did you mention anything about the whole incident being wrong, morally even.


  24. hiii, i was shocked when i saw the news. it is unbelievable.

  25. Rania, she was a grown up woman at the time of her marriage. I have entered a post in my blog with historical accounts about her age, please check it out.

  26. @lak47, l have called the young girl's incident as a ''Horrible Crime''. Please read my previous entry carefully. Also, if you have Constructive criticism on the Prophet of Islam, you and l can discuss about it here:

  27. Seriously - people who use horrible crimes to then attack and blame the religion/s of those evil people who committed the crimes are ridiculous!

    Trust me - nowhere in Christianity will you find verses in the Bible that say 'he, go kill people on crusades' or 'hey, burn women at the stake if they like using herbs for medicine'. Also, nowhere in Islam will you find verses encouraging men to rape their wives, or to marry mere children, etc.

    The fact that there are men and women (who belong to ALL religions of the world) who are IGNORANT of what their religion is, or use it to get power, does NOT mean that the religion itself is ignorant or power-hungry.

    So please people stop insulting any religion, in this case, stop insulting Islam. It is NOT because of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) or Islam that there are beasts of men who will use any excuse to satisfy their beastly urges. It is not the Prophet or Islam that allows Omani or Yemeni or whatever law to say it is ok to rape your wife, or to marry a child.

    For goodness sake, if it wasn't for the Prophet Mohammed and the advent of Islam, the people of this region would still have harems of 100+ wives of all kinds of ages.

    If you are an atheist, or whatever, you do not see people on this blog insulting you for your beliefs or lack thereof. So please show the same courtesy and respect in return.

  28. i am so terrified after reading abt this article, had the same crime be committed on an older woman, the act still amounts to rape. Since it was a mere 13 yr old, i can only imagine what the child would have undergone emotionally and physically. The poor girl would have heard stories of love and understanding from people when she agreed to the marriage, only to die within 3 days since the contract was signed. I shall pray to God for Elham, and for all our kids. Peace.

  29. I have been living in southern egypt where girls are regularly admitted to hospital on their wedding night. the routine FGM that is carried out on them doesn't help. Nevertheless they are perfectly happy to repeat the same mistake with their daughters and granddaughters so what can you do?

  30. This is a really disturbing story. I have heard a few like this and often the men who have committed such crimes use religion as a way of justifying it and saying the poor child has some kind of demon in her.

    A lot of this stuff occurs in the poorer countries like Yemen, Egypt, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Also, because of the extreme conditions of Saudi Arabia it happens as well.

    I think the laws need to improve. There has to be some kind of checks and balances to make sure that what is going on is a sincere and true marriage. The woman needs to be able to be questioned alone before the contract is signed by an independent official.

    Also, I think this is a greater problem of critical thinking skills and family planning. Families tend to make very poor choices when they have so many children and are unable to take care of them. I can't imagine having to get rid of my child because she is a burden on the family, or not being able to afford a simple wedding. Yemen in particular has a problem with severe poverty people are desperate. I think if your basic needs are not met then families do crazy things like marry off a child to the wrong person at the wrong time and for the wrong reasons.

    I think this has to do with the inability to plan for the future of your family, being ignorant and a society that is ignorant in itself in that is basically doesn't take rape seriously. I do think disclosure and honestly discussing these issues will lead to better decision making. I particularly agree with the comment about, why isn't the tribe stopping this? Why does a whole group of people allow this to happen? A group of people who doesn't value the right of a young girl to lead a full life. One of freedom of creativity, meaningful work and being valued in society. This is a major point of focus for the entire middle east and if that sentence was just held in the mass conscious.

    Really tragic story and I hope her soul is at peace now.

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