In a bone-chilling three minutes, a young girl who evaded child marriage tells the world that she would “rather die,” than be forced to undergo an arranged marriage.
After learning that her parents had plans to marry her off to a wealthy suitor, brave Nada al-Ahdal of Yemen risked her life and fled to the refuge of her uncle. The precocious little girl, who saw how her teenage aunt took her own life after being abused in an arranged marriage, shared in a harrowing translated video the cruelty of the child bride practice.
“I would have had no life, no education. Don’t they have any compassion?,” Nada asks. “I’m better off dead. I’d rather die [than be forced into a marriage].”
According to NOW News, Nada’s uncle, Abdel Salam al-Ahdal, a montage and graphics technician at a TV station, has protected his niece from being married off twice. Nada’s parents first accepted an offer from a wealthy expatriate, but al-Ahdel intervened and told the prospective groom that Nada was not nearly modest enough for him, in order to “scare him off.”
“When I heard about the groom, I panicked,” he told NOW. “Nada was not even 11 years old; she was exactly 10 years and 3 months. I could not allow her to be married off and have her future destroyed.”
When Nada’s mother tried once again to marry off her daughter against her will, Nada — despite threats that she could be killed — fled to her uncle’s once more, and filed a complaint with the police. She’ll now be living with al-Ahdal permanently.
But such forced marriages, like Nada’s, are on the rise across the globe.
According to a World Vision study released in March, more child brides are being led into arranged marriages due to an increase in global poverty and crises. Parents who live in fear of natural disasters, political instability and financial ruin look to arranged marriages as a way to save their struggling families.
Every day, 39,000 girls, younger than 18, will marry, according to the World Health Organization.
“Women have no rights to give an opinion in the family,” Humaiya, a 16-year-old from Bangladesh who managed to escape marriage, told The Huffington Post in March. “My father didn’t listen.”
Nada, whose video on YouTube has already garnered more than 2 million hits, hopes that the world will hear her message loud and clear.
“They have killed our dreams. They have killed everything inside us,” Nada said in the video. “This is no upbringing. This is criminal, simply criminal.”