Child Brides-Monologue

kind3500
Posted May 8, 2012 from Canada
My husband left me all alone to care for our dying child. We had been married for six years. I am fourteen years old. I live in rural Yemen, and at the age of eight, my life changed forever. My family was struggling financially, however at the time I did not understand that. All I knew was that I could no longer go to school, and we were very hungry. My father was also notorious for his gambling and soon had an unsettled debt. I was his solution. It was in the dead of night that I was suddenly woken by my father and dragged out of bed. My mother dressed me in the nicest of gowns and veiled my face, a steady stream of tears marking her own. She refused to answer my questions and would not look me in the eye. It was then that I noticed my young brothers and sisters and my many relatives standing around a small fire in the yard. Several people who I did not know were also there. As my mother slowly carried me outside, our guests sat on the dry grass. A strange man, who was at least fifty years old, was sitting next to the fire gesturing for me to come his way. The crowd pushed me until I was seated right next to him, closer than I desired. A quick ceremony that I did not understand was conducted, and the elders of my family recited several blessings. Once this was over, everybody started to dance; everybody except me that is. I finally understood what had just happened. I had been married- this was my wedding night. It couldn’t be though; I was just a young girl. But yes, this was the sad truth. I collapsed in horror and later awoke in an unfamiliar room. I cried for my mother, but nobody came. My dress was itchy and my head was pounding. I screamed and cried until finally an older woman rushed in. “She’s awake, she’s awake, come quick!” she shouted. A man, the man I married to be exact, came into the room. He was frightening and sickening. He barely looked at me before he thrust himself upon me and tore at my clothing. I wailed in protest, which was only met with more violence. He beat me and yelled at me, and I could not understand why he was doing such terrible things to me. He raped me throughout the entire night, until I was no longer aware of the situation. I woke to pain and terror at what my married life would bring next. The older woman, my mother-in-law, who had come into the room the night before came back and made me follow her to the garden. She pushed me and yelled until I finally understood my task. I was to harvest the fields, care for the livestock, and clean and cook for my husband. Each day was the same laborious work, and each night I faced the same horrors. This continued for months, without me ever laying eyes on any other children or hearing from my family. School was out of the question too; there was no chance I was getting an education when there was work to be done for my husband. I desperately missed my old life. I wanted to be a normal little girl again…playing with friends, going to school, not having a care in the world. I was exhausted and soon became very sick. I could not do the work they were forcing me to do, and so I was beaten. Just after what I assumed was my thirteenth birthday, as I have no birth documents, I realized I was pregnant. The abuse from my husband led to a painful miscarriage within months. This news only led to more violence. Just a few months later, I was pregnant again. My baby was born prematurely with no medical assistance. I was forced to endure four days of agonizing labour all alone. My daughter was born, but little did I know that we both had HIV. The premature pregnancy also resulted in fistula for me. I was not old enough to have a baby…I am still a child myself! The fistula causes me to leak everywhere and the stench is horrible. The nerves in my left foot have been damaged as a side effect, giving me a limp. I smelled so terrible that my husband kicked my daughter and me out of the house. I now slowly make my way to the village centre, a place I have rarely visited. My appearance does not shock anyone here; I am not an abnormality. There are plenty of other young mothers in the same situation as myself. I wander the village, looking for help that will never arrive. I look for friends, but I have none. I look for medical aid, but there is none. I look for a job, but nobody wants me. My baby will not stop crying and I have nothing to give her. We are starving and alone. Nobody stops to help us when we need it the most. I have been living in the secret world of child brides for what seems like an eternity, and I’ve got nowhere left to turn. My baby girl dies within weeks, and then I truly am alone. Rio+20: United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development

Comments 4

Log in or register to post comments
Breese McIlvaine
May 11, 2012
May 11, 2012

What a terribly sad story.... Where did this take place? Is there anything being done to prevent it and protect young girls' rights?

kind3500
May 18, 2012
May 18, 2012

This particular story occurred in Yemen, however the practice of child marriage occurs worldwide. The above piece of writing is my work which I based on previous research and readings. It is factually correct, in saying that any of the above events may happen to a child bride. Child brides are most often found in poverty-stricken and traditional areas. These areas may include African, Middle-Eastern, and South-American countries. There have also been accounts of child brides in more developed countries, however the reasoning for marrying a young girl off differs in every location. This is a global issue that has only recently been publicized and it still requires much more work. The general public is not aware of child brides, as it is such a secretive lifestyle (in many cases). I wrote a 65-page report on Child Brides and I've learned that there are several organizations working towards abolishing child marriage and raising women's rights awareness. Some of those I researched include:The International Center for Research on Women ,Early Marriage Tragedy in Maasai Society Foundation (EMTMs) -(in Tanzania..I am actually partner of this organization!!),Women Thrive Worldwide ,Vital Voices,Global Room for Women,The International Organization for Women and Development ,The World Health Organization ,Sisters Arab Forum for Human Rights ,Seyaj Organization for the Protection of Children ,Sarathi Trust,the Population Council , The Elders,Plan Canada, and many more. If the dangerous practice of marrying young girls off is to end, we need the cooperation of the world, including the male population (very influential). People need education, aid, cultural ties, and willpower to help protect the rights of young girls!!!

Olanike
Jun 22, 2012
Jun 22, 2012

Dear Kindersley,

Your piece resonates as there are several of such cases in my country till date; and the Girl child is at the center of this heart rending practices. At very early stages of their lives, many Girls' are subjected to conditions that jeopardize future They encounter forced marriages, domestic violence and abuse, child labor and trafficking, sexually transmitted diseases, Vesico Vagina Fistula (VVF), forced abortion, abandonment, deprived childhood, early separation, denied rights and freedom...........I could go on and on. It is really a very sad situation which I hope will soon become a thing of the past. Good enough though, people are become more aware of the many dangers that are connected to acts that deprive girls' of their rights and dignity.

I am touched!

Olanike

kind3500
Jul 30, 2012
Jul 30, 2012

Thank you for your comments.!..Yes, it is such a terrible tragedy that I have put much time into researching and learning about. One day I do hope to help such girls on a global scale, but for now, I put my thoughts and feelings about this topic into my writing! I recently completed a 61 page report on child marriage, and if you would like to view it, please communicate with me. Thankyou