Last September, a 12 year-old Yemeni bride died after being in labor for 3 days.
Marrying young girls is a common practice in Yemen where a quarter of females are married before they are 15. There have been attempts to make it unlawful for children under 17 to get married, but efforts to pass such a law have so far been thwarted by influential Islamic leaders.
Check out this video for the story of Arwa who was divorced by the age of 10. Arwa’s lawyer has been long time advocate for having a minimum age requirement for marriage, “According to my opinion…it is not a marriage, it is the rape of children.”
Not everyone shares her views, however. Law to set a minimum age for marriage are seen as un-Islamic. Even the doctor who helped Arwa escape from her husband is quoted saying, “Islam determines the age of marriage to be when the girl is ready for intercourse, not a specific age.”
Decisions on whether there will be a minimum age of 17 for marriages will be determined in the upcoming month. Hopefully the tragic death will serve to help leaders make a responsible decision about child marriages.
image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/richardmessenger