Ilham Mahdi al Assi, age 13, was married less than two weeks ago in what is known in Yemen as a traditional swap marriage—her brother married her groom’s sister.
The forced marriage left Ilham al Assi dead from marital rape five days later.
Ilham Mahdi al Assi: Yemeni Child Bride Dies After Marital Rape
Marrying off young children is common, every day practice in the impoverished country of Yemen. Many are seeking to ban this practice but have been met with fierce resistance by local tribes.
Ilham Assi’s mother, Nijma Ahmed stated that before her daughter lost consciousness, she told her that her husband had tied her up and forced himself on her, violently. The mother also said her daughter looked like she had been butchered. Ilham Mahdi al Assi sex organs had been ruptured and she hemorrhaged to death, according to a local human rights organization. Hemorrhaging is an extremely painful way to die.
Ilham al Assi’s ‘husband’, Abed al-Hikmi, 23, is currently in police custody.
More than 1/4 of females in Yemen are married off before the age of 15. It’s believed the younger the bride, the more obedient she will be, and there’s the added benefit of being able to produce more offspring!
Please note the sarcasm.
There has been much controversy in Yemen over banning child marriage. Some want to set the minimum age at 17 for girls, 18 for men.
“Thousands of conservative women demonstrated outside parliament last month, answering a call by religious parties opposing the law.”
Due to political correctness, I dare not mention what religion this might be. Someone would surely be offended!
A lesser number of women rallied at the same venue a few days later in support of the law, the implementation of which was blocked pending a request by a group of politicians for a review.
Nijma Ahmed said she tried to convince her child to have sex with her husband so the family would not be shamed. Yes, you read that right.
The groom, Abed al-Hikmi took his child bride to a clinic and asked the Doctors to tranquilize the child so she would not resist him while he pursued sexual satisfaction. The clinic said they refused. However, Al-Hikmi was able to obtain ‘performance enhancing’ pills and completed his husbandly duties as his wife allegedly lay tied up and screaming.
And it just gets worse.
The next day, Al-Hikmi carried his ‘wife’ back to the clinic because she couldn’t stand or walk. Dr. Fathiya Haidar advised Mr. Al-Hakmi to leave his wife alone for the next ten days, as her vaginal canal was ripped. However, forensic reports suggest he did not.
The report indicated extensive vaginal and rectal tearing resulting in hemorrhaging.
The practice of marrying young girls is widespread in Yemen and has drawn the attention of international rights groups seeking to pressure the government to outlaw child marriages.
That’s not likely to happen.
In March, 2010 a group of Yemen’s highest authorities decided, then declared, that anyone opposing the ban on child marriages would be viewed as apostates.
If you have ever wondered why our great country gets involved in others business, what is happening in Yemen should be a good enough answer.
Children need protection, regardless of what country, what culture they’re born into. We fight so that others can be viewed as humans, with dignity and respect — we fight so perhaps someday children will no longer be forced into marriage and ‘loved’ to death by older men.
We fight to educate, and hopefully reform cultures that view children as sub-human sex toys. We fight for many reasons, but saving children from horrors like this is among the most worthwhile.
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