An eight year old bride in Yemen died from internal injuries on her wedding night, bleeding to death after deep vaginal tearing caused by sex with her 40 year old husband.
The girl, identified only by the name Rawan, died in Hardh in the governorate of Hajjah in northwestern Yemen, according to a report issued by UPI on Sunday, Sept. 8.
Activists in the region want to put an end to the practice of marrying young girls, and have called for police to arrest the girl's husband and family. Nevertheless, the forced marriage of child brides in Yemen remains a socially accepted custom in many rural areas.
Indeed, the practice has deep cultural and religious roots, and is widespread in Yemen. A February 2009 law set the minimum age for marriage at 17, but it was repealed after some conservative lawmakers called it un-Islamic.
In particular, a prominent Islamic cleric, Abdulmajeed al-Zindani, issued a fatwa in support of the practice, declaring supporters of a ban on child brides to be apostates, and ultimately leading a successful campaign against legislation that would prevent adult men from marrying children.
The issue of Yemen's child bride problem made headlines three years ago when an 8-year-old girl went to court, demanding a judge dissolve her marriage to a man in his 30s. The girl eventually won a divorce, and legislators began looking at ways to curb the practice. However, they have so far been unsuccessful. Currently the law states that parents should decide when a daughter marries.
Unfortunately, reports indicate more than a quarter of Yemen’s females marry before age 15.