Imagine for a moment that you are nine years old. You are like any other girl, playing about in the yard, doing the usual little girl stuff. Imagine though the family is poor, you go to some school, but then your parents drop you from school. Let’s imagine your dad wakes you up at about three in the morning. While I’m not really the one to do this, if I were nine, I’d wonder why. So your father says, “You will be married to a man.” The first thing that crosses your mind is: what? Married? You are told that your husband to be is three times your age. You’re only nine, remember?
This actually happened to Nujood Ali, a young lady from Yemen when she was only about nine years old. Her husband, the predator the father chose for her, was a man three times her age, smoked, drank, and had a big temper. This happens one too many times. The reasons parents in poor countries do this to their innocent daughters is the poverty, the desire for a good marriage match for the daughter, and to keep the family honor alive. Well, my friends, child marriage is a bad idea. This is happening too many times in Africa and Asia, and it also happens in America!
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the famed Somali born scholar, says bluntly in her books that child marriage is bad and could hinder the girl from dreaming. Hirsi Ali also states in an article called “Young, American, and Forced to Wed”, that this form of slavery is occurring right under the noses of Congress. What are Republicans doing to solve this? Nothing. But we do have an ally in Jimmy carter, who though old, and retired as we all know, has written a chapter about this in his book, A Call To Action. Oftentimes, the child bride is pulled out of school. The bride does not get any education soon before her wedding, and she is a sex slave for the man for the rest of her life. Usually, the man is three or two times her age. Here’s an experience anecdote: a young Somali cousin of my ex said that there were girls young as eighteen marrying men old enough to be Grandpa. This actually almost happened to Waris Diri, a Somali lady who later became a “Desert Flower.” She became a New York model, an ambassador for women, and so many other things. She was also mutilated in the genitals, so many Somalis have this done to them and it causes many health complications. This young girl wanted to be a girl, not a slave. For many child brides, they are doomed to stay in the marriage once they are impregnated. Sadly, the brides are brainwashed to think that this is the best. Well, ok, let’s go back to our imaginary, or not so imaginary, nine-year-old girl. Imagine the girl is sitting in a room with her “husband”, in reality a sexual predator. When marriages were done in the ancient times, men did not touch the kids till they matured sexually. But with Nujood’s story, Faez Ali Thamer, the predator in question, raped her violently every night they were together. HE claimed he wasn’t violent. Well, if I were to confront the man myself, I would have looked him in the face and said, “So why is your so called wife asking for a divorce? Do you want medical evidence?” If Nujood lived in the U.S., a girl like her would get access to medical care that proved that she was violently raped and abused. Men these days do not know the innocence of childhood, and I have previously posted about manhood and boyhood. We need to make men aware that being violent to young girls and women will not get them to Heaven.
My Muslim friend, Elizabeth D., said to me today some stuff about the last days, Yama Ke Yama, in which we stand before God and state what we did with our lives. Well, I bet that Faez Ali Thamer will have to stand before his God and state, “I raped a nine-year-old girl.” And the worst thing was, he wasn’t imprisoned. The father meant well by “selling” his daughter.
Nujood became the youngest divorcee in the world, and later wrote a book about it. Delphine Minoui coauthored the book, and Nujood went to school. It was a great day in her life when she finally got free, but at the expense of her parents’ “honor.” Again, Ayaan Hirrsi Ali would say, “It’s a classic case of the honor code and shame code.” IF a girl balks and rebells against the marriage proposed by her father, she is seen as shameful and killed.
So what are the solutions to child marriage? There is no easy solution. What I think would work is this: if countries like Yemen would ban the “sale” and marriage of young girls under the eighteenth birthday, it would be a start. Sixteen years old is ok, but look at statistics. I have a friend who married really young, sixteen or seventeen. She is having one problem after another, and she has had to chastize her husband many times for partying and going on dates. Emily Caldwell’s two kids are the best things she has. Her husband’s unfaithfulness however is the top reason why so many American couples break up.
So what if arranged marriage worked? Should we just marry off our daughters to strangers? No. Marriage should be to someone you trust, love, and cherish for life, whether you’re sick or healthy, rich or poor, or whatever. Blake and I cherish each other’s company, and I know that it’s going to be hard. It will be so hard if Blake doesn’t have me but at least we’re adults, and we’ve matured. So many teenagers have a fairy tale image of marriage that they don’t see the real work that goes into even having a dating relationship. Marriage is work, and marrying a child to a predator will only result in rape and abuse.
The ramifications of child marriage are deadly and unhealthy for children who marry: the girls die in childbirth and the boys learn to be predators and businessmen who buy and sell brides. What is this!
The best solution we can come up with is outright bans on child marriage. If but one child is married off, it is one child too many. As Elizabeth would say, “We can’t stand before our Lord and say that we married our young daughters off at nine to men they hated.” Elizabeth’s own daughter, Sofia, married Phil, a non Muslim, not in accordance with the Qur’an, but Elizabeth will tell you that not a lot of brothers in the Masjids in Denver really wanted Sofia. Phil plopped down beside Sofia one day while she was about to eat something, and that was it. Phil and Sofia currently have one child, and they’re doing great. Sofia would not have done well in a marriage this young, nine being the youngest possible age that Aisha, the wife of Muhammad, got married. Sofia is a true Muslim if I must say so after my own heart. Elizabeth and I met today over some furniture and moving and stuff. But we still have to get the bed frame out of my friend’s apartment. I should’ve probably said to Elizabeth, “What are those child brides doing with Isis?” And what of Boko Haram? Elizabeth would say that this is a twisted view of the real Islam. But I can’t just read the guys like books right when I open them up. I’m not one to read a guy like that, but I’ll confess I skip to the end of a book when my body tells me to.
Some guys in Islam don’t treat their wives with respect. Even beating a disobedient wife is bad. But Elizabeth is trying her darndest to find a good man she can retire with. Well, not exactly retire. And the cool thing is that Elizabeth is over fifty! And she’s happy! Should those Yemeni girls and women learn a thing or two from her? I think so.
Child marriage will never work in any religion. This means that all Muslims, Christians, Hindus, etc. should never marry under the age of eighteen and not to someone with, if parents are listening/reading, a criminal history that has to do with domestic battery or assault. Native Eskimos did this even. Remember the book entitled, Julie and the Wolves? This book and the other called Julie’s Wolf Pack are about a girl who escapes a marriage she does not want. When a girl often gets into these bad marriages, she will stay there because she feels unwanted after sex. Sometimes even I think that way, but I know Blake wouldn’t want me to feel this way. I can’t wait for Blake and I to make our vows one day, and when I make a promise, I never break it. Never. I promised myself long ago when I was but a child that I would never marry a guy who hit me, but almost did in Georgia. Ugh.
Elizabeth wasn’t happy with Jason, and knowing Jason, he may become the next Faez Ali Thamer. Let’s follow that life of his and see where it goes.
The best and brightest remedy is this: I’d like to see how many of you make videos of children giving birth. I’d like to see YouTube campaigns that state that this problem is cross faith, cross Ethnicity, etc. I will later write a part III about interracial marriages and disability marriages. How do we view these things?