Only in the 29th paragraph of this story (I haven’t reprinted them all here), when Sharia is mentioned, do we learn that this child marriage had anything to with Islam. Yet only when that is acknowledged and confronted will there be any chance for such girls, for only by confronting the root cause can the practice ever be successfully challenged.
“The Prophet wrote the (marriage contract) with ‘Aisha while she was six years old and consummated his marriage with her while she was nine years old and she remained with him for nine years (i.e. till his death).” — Bukhari 7.62.88
[…] Nujood is very different from the girl we first met nearly two years ago. Then, there was no doubt the 10-year-old was every inch a child. She was the very portrait of innocence: A shy smile, a playful nature and a whimsical giggle.
That picture was very much at odds with the brutal story of abuse she endured as a child bride who fought for a divorce and is now still fighting.
Nujood says she remains relieved and gratified that her act of defiance — which led to appearances at awards shows and on TV — had paid off.
The story was supposed to end with the divorce and an innocent but determined girl allowed to fully embrace the childhood she fought so hard to keep.
Instead, there has been no fairytale ending for Nujood….
“I was happy I got divorced but I’m sad about the way it turned out after I went on television,” she said adding that she feels like an outcast even among her family and friends.
Nujood was pulled out of school in early 2008 and married off by her own parents to a man she says was old and ugly. And yet, as a wife, Nujood was spared nothing.
“I didn’t want to sleep with him but he forced me to, he hit me, insulted me” said Nujood. She said being married and living as a wife at such a young age was sheer torture.
“He hit me.”
“Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them.” — Qur’an 4:34
Nujood described how she was beaten and raped and how, after just a few weeks of marriage, she turned to her family to try to escape the arrangement. But her parents told her they could not protect her, that she belonged to her husband now and had to accept her fate.
CNN tried to obtain comment from Nujood’s husband and his family but they declined.
Nujood’s parents, like many others in Yemen, struck a social bargain. More than half of all young Yemeni girls are married off before the age of 18, many times to older men, some with more than one wife.
It means the girls are no longer a financial or moral burden to their parents. But Nujood’s parents say they did not expect Nujood’s new husband to demand sex from his child bride.
To escape, Nujood hailed a taxi — for the first time in her life — to get across town to the central courthouse where she sat on a bench and demanded to see a judge.
After several hours, a judge finally went to see her. “And he asked me, ‘what do you want’ and I said ‘I want a divorce’ and he said ‘you’re married?’ And I said ‘yes.'” says Nujood.
Nujood’s father and husband were arrested until the divorce hearing, and Nujood was put in the care of Nasser.
Indeed, it seems the judge had heard enough of the abuse to agree with Nujood that she should get her divorce.
But based on the principles of Shariah law, her husband was compensated, not prosecuted. Nujood was ordered to pay him more than $200 — a huge amount in a country where the United Nations Development Programme says 15.7 percent of the population lives on less than $1 a day….