I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced

“I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced”. A book that vividly describes the experience of a young girl, named Nujood, who endured a traumatising process that still strikes fear into the hearts of children up to this day upon even the slightest mention of the matter, - forced child marriage. The author, Nujood Ali, who worked together with Delphine Minoui in the writing process, recounted the story from her personal point of view. Coerced into facing many ordeals at the tender age of ten, the Yemen girl was forced to make choices under such circumstances, especially under one of a forced marriage. Here is an excerpt that summarises her whole story - "I'm a simple village girl who has always obeyed the orders of my father and brothers. Since forever, I have learned to say yes to everything. Today I have decided to say no."

 This story is set in the rural village of Yemen, called Khardji. It is a place so insignificantly small and secluded, that it does not even appear onto most maps. Like any other children her age, Nujood was carefree, rascally and a high-spirited child who loved nothing more than to spend her time frolicking about with her many siblings and friends in the neighbourhood. Armed with her coloured pencils, her fiery passion for art seemed almost incomparable by anything and everything else except school. Her years of endless rainbows and unicorns, however, was unexpectedly cut short when her father forced her into marrying a man three times her own age, a stranger whom she has never met before and shall not meet again until the marriage contract is signed. 
 Like herself, Nujood’s mother had also experienced forced marriage. She married Nujood’s father when she was only sixteen. Since then, she has conceived sixteen children, most of which Nujood had never met or had no memory of. The large family made the job of satisfying everyone’s stomach extremely difficult for the man of the house, Nujood’s father, who supported them by raising livestock. Though they do not lave the luxury that most people take for granted today, Nujood seemed relatively happy; that is, until the news of her forced marriage hit her. 

 Due to unforeseen circumstances that crashed Nujood and her family, they were forced to leave the village, leaving all their livestock and every other possession behind. Eversince, their life turned for the worst and everything went downhill after they fled to the big city of Sana’s. Ali, Nujood’s father, barely managed to survive with his measly job of a janitor. The situation worsened when he got fired, which then resulted to the desperation of wasting away the remnants of his life. He would spend his time loitering about with the men in the neighbourhood.
 One day, however, Faez, a thirty-year-old man who hanged around with Ali, had asked to agree to a marriage between him and one of Ali’s daughters. The two eldest daughters in the house were already married off, so the ten-year-old Nujood was unknowingly next in line to be married. Deciding that this will mean he has one less mouth to feed, Ali selfishly agreed to the marriage. He discussed the matter with all the men in the family and it was a unanimous decision seeing as everyone gave their consent. Nujood’s mother was not a big fan of the idea. But alas, her opinions never mattered in the household. She was a woman. In Yemen, only the men can make decisions while the women have to abide by them. No one consulted Nujood. At her age, she was still naïve and did not understand what marriage meant. 

After the signing of the marriage contract by both sides, two marriage ceremonies were held. Nujood only met her husband after the marriage ceremonies. The poor girl was depressed. Forced to be separated from her family, she was sobbing profusely when she had to travel back to the village she used to reside in, leaving the rest of her family behind. Faez promised her father that he will not touch Nujood until she has matured. He broke his promise. He violated her the very first night and carried on every night for a month.
 Terrorised to a point where she couldn’t stand it any more, Nujood focused on an escape plan. It took her a lot of courage and willpower to muster, but that one chance changed her life. During a visit back to Sana’s, Nujood ran to the courthouse and waited for hours to face a judge, on a pretext of buying bread. She declared that she wanted a divorce and the judges couldn’t believe that she was a married woman, seeing just how young she is. A lawyer, who was also an advocate of women’s rights, gave her hope and support. She nursed Nujood back to her stable health, both physically and maybe emotionally. 

 After the scarring experience, Nujood finally won her freedom. She regained her normal life back and lived as the child she was meant to be. Her defiance became inspiration for other girls in the Middle East to challenge their marriages. Her story will always be remembered, for it is a story of terrible ordeals, courage, and triumph.


  1. So sad. It's about culture that may cost their lives. People especially women are not necessarily have their own choice. Even their government does nothing about this.

    This is What Happens to Women Who Turn Down Marriage Proposals




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