Sunday, 15 September 2013

Child Not Bride?!

Knowingly, I have not written anything about the government on this blog. I did not write when anger brewed for the fuel susbsidy removal, nor did I write about the dullards we call leaders in our government. What I will write about though, is underage marriage. I didn't intend to write about it initially until I had the pleasure of coming across the story of a young girl from Yemen, Nujood Ali.

A few years ago when I heard about the 13year old girl one of our leaders, Senator Yerima married from Egypt with 100,000 Dollars and impregnated at the age of 14, I felt sick. Watching the event from my bed then, I wished there was something that could be done to get the little girl away from him. Eventually however, nothing was done to the Senator and all charges were dropped against him. That is the kind of country we live in. A country with laws that aren't implemented, a democratic country with little or no freedom, a country being led by comedians, a country that has a child rights act and still wants to legalise underage marriage! Is it not enough that grown and fully matured women suffer in the hand of these so-called "men"? Matured women who know when to stop talking and how to please men, are killed daily by domestic violence. Must children be added to the equation too? I am a Muslim, and I will NEVER associate this as a tradition in my religion. What kind of sick demented men do we have in the world now? It is not enough to ruin ladies of age beyond repair, must they now start taking the little girls one after the other?

Every parent that consents to under-age marriage should be either stoned to death or burnt at a stake. Here, I'm not trying to judge anybody but I have a right to my views and opinions. How can any mother, who conceived in her womb for 9 long months, gave birth in excruciating pain, loved, cared for and nurtured the baby for years, decide to trade her daughter for money? I understand the fact that poverty is becoming very rampant in our nation, but it should never come to selling your little girl into slavery and suffering, and probably death. The health issues that arise from young girls becoming exposed to sexual activities early, and conceiving is numerous. Most of these girls die in the process, and the ones that don't die, may be miserable or depressed for life. Let's not even talk about the large numbers that get VVF (VesicoVaginal Fistula) for life!

Nujood Ali was 9 when she was forced to marry a 30-smth year old man in her home country, Yemen and according to her story, the marriage contract was signed by her father with the believe that the marriage wouldn't be consummated until she was 18 after a dowry of about 740dollars was paid by her husband. The day after the contract was signed however, she was taken to her husband's house on the outskirts of town where she went through physical and psychological torture. No matter how much she screamed for help that night, or how much she tried to run, he caught her and did as he pleased: rape a 9 year old girl unconscious. During the day, Nujood was a slave to her mother in-law, and beaten by her husband who forced himself on her at night. All Nujood knew at such tender age was pain, fear, and more pain! At a point which I think the young girl reasoned "enough was enough", she escaped during a brief visit to her family house, got a cab, and asked to be taken to a courthouse where she pleaded to see a judge and requested for a divorce (after her parents had made it clear that she belonged to her husband now and they 'couldn't' help her). The Judge, understanding her plight, instead granted her an annulment to prevent the marriage contract from being redrawn. Her human rights lawyer also helped "compensate" her husband with the sum 200Dollars as demanded by the Sharia law. She was the first child-bride to have taken such bold step in the country, and a number of girls started asking for divorces themselves. Nujood was recognised as Glamor magazine's woman of the year in 2008, along with other reputable women. She also wrote her biography titled I am Nujood, 10 and Divorced.

Let's imagine Nujood had not taken the bold step she did then, would she not be more damaged by now or probably dead? She would have no dream of a future, and a happy life! How many abused "grown women" in Nigeria can be brave enough to leave the source of abuse? How many of them can actually request to get a divorce? I still maintain that 'society be damned!'. No-one will judge you in the grave after the abuse kills you. Is it not better to be alive and judged? We really need to educate our girls/women. Abuse is NOT a normal part of matrimony. We need to realise that weak and selfish men abuse their women but it is best to be strong and leave! Do not fool yourself into thinking they change. They never change! Please do yourself a favour and get out of the abusive relationship/marriage. The rest can sort itself out later, but only after you take the bold step of protecting yourself. Nobody else matters but YOU!!!

Con amor

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