After being forced into marriage, an eight year-old child bride has died in Yemen on her wedding night. it is reported that she suffered serious internal injuries due to sexual trauma, which led to her death. Her husband was five times her age, and human rights organisations are calling for his arrest.
It is reported that the death occurred in the tribal area of Hardh in north-west Yemen, which borders Saudi Arabia, and it highlights the tragic issue of forced child marriages in the Middle East.
Reports by human rights groups reveal that over a quarter of Yemen’s young girls are married before the age of 15. Once married, they not only lose access to health and education, but these child brides are often subjected to physical, emotional and sexual violence.
According to the UN, by 2020 more than 140 million girls will become child brides and of these, 50 million will be under the age of 15.” One of the main issues is that there is currently no consistent established definition of a “child” that has been agreed on worldwide, thus allowing countries to interpret it how they want and leaving little protection for the girls who are affected.
Most pro age-limit organisations agree that 18 should be the legal age for marriage, and in February 2009, a law was created in Yemen that set the minimum age for marriage at 17. Unfortunately, it was repealed after more conservative lawmakers called it un-Islamic.
- Pray for the child brides of the Middle East. Pray they will know they are not alone or forgotten, but will come to know the love of their Heavenly Father who will never leave them or hurt them
- Pray for swift resolution to the issue of child brides, and for more protection by law for girls.
- Pray for Christian aid workers working with abused women and children, that they will show the deep compassion and love of God for these precious people and be a channel of His healing and grace.
Matthew 19 vs 13 -14: “Then little children were being brought to him in order that he might lay his hands on them and pray … but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.’