We have covered honor killings.
We have covered trafficking.
But the following account from Yemen transcends new levels of tragedy:
Fawziya Abdullah Youssef died in a hospital of the Hodeida province of Yemen after struggling to give birth for three days. Her child was stillborn.
According to Seyaj volunteers, such incidents “occur frequently” and result in the death of numerous young girls in the region.
As the most economically challenged country in the Arabian Peninsula, child marriage is particularly rife – 50% of brides are below the age of 18 – due in part to the necessity to secure a dowry.
The root of the problem is akin to that of honor killings in Jordan, though: loose laws and fortified traditions.
While moves have been made to pass a bill raising the minimum age of marriage to 17 for girls, the legislation has met with staunch resistance.
Inevitably, the Yemeni government has yelped about the bill’s importance, always concluding with “however”.
That word that seals the fate of girls and women the world over.
According to conservative leaders, to pass the bill would be to contravene Islamic law, which does not specify a legal age for marriage.
Eleven. Years. Old.
There are no words to encapsulate the barbarity and cruelty that such men embody.
These actions are not Islamic; they are crimes against children and I refuse to believe that the Islamic faith would condone such an action.
Indeed, it raises that age-old gripe: if fatwas can be passed on breastfeeding and Mickey Mouse, then why not crimes against women and girls?
Priorities, people – get them straight. Now.