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8-Year-Old Bride Escapes Husband, Gets Annulment

If it takes three stories to make a trend, here's your third with an arguably happy ending.

Nojoud, an 8-year-old Yemeni girl forced to marry a man in his 20s, took her destiny into her own hands. She ran away from her husband, and took a taxi to a judge's office. Luckily for her, the forward-thinking judge granted her an annulment. Nojoud is living safely with her uncle, and looking forward to going back to school.

Economic conditions are dire in Yemen, which borders Saudi Arabia in the Middle East. Marriage laws are murky — there is no minimum age for marriage, but child brides are not allowed to live with their husbands until they reach puberty. To see what happened in this case,


Nojoud signed the marriage contract with the expectation that she would live with her parents, until she reached 18. Instead she was forced to consummate the marriage, and live with the man. Her father had arranged the marriage, after threats from the husband's entourage. Her older sister had been kidnapped and forced to marry her kidnapper.

Considering that Nojoud's tragic co-habitation and consummation were against Yemen law, how do you feel about Yemen's legal version of child marriage, which requires a girl to reach puberty before sexual relations begin? Is it hard for Western societies to accept a conception of marriage, which resembles a business transaction void of romance?


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