Early marriages in Yemen have hit crisis proportions. An 8-year-old Yemeni minor succumbed to her wounds and internal bleeding after getting intimate with a 40-year-old man on their wedding night.
Rawan was married off to a man 5 times her age in early December, 2020 in Meedi, Haijah province, northwest Yemen.
Arwa Othoman, a leading right activist, told Reuters that the girl suffered a uterine rupture, which led to excessive internal bleeding.
“She was rushed to the hospital, but doctors could do little to save her life,” he said
The rights campaigner said that no action had been taken against the minor’s family or husband.
Speaking on conditions of anonymity, a security official in Haradh town shot down the claim saying no such thing had been reported within his jurisdiction.
However, some 2 Meedi locals contacted by the international press confirmed the incident saying the tribal elders had frantically moved to cover the truth when the news broke out.
They allegedly issued journalists with a strict warning not to cover the story.
The skyrocketing levels of poverty in parts of Yemen compel some parents to marry off under-age girls to cut on the cost of raising a child and benefit from the dowry proceeds.
According to a UN report released in early 2020, close to 11 million of Yemeni’s 24 million people had inadequate food supplies. 13 million did not have access to clean water and primary sanitation facilities.
In December 2011, The Human Rights Watch pressed Yemen to proscribe under–age marriage because it denied these children an education and put their health at risk.
Additional UN data revealed by HRW showed that 14% of Yemeni girls were married off under age 15 and 52% before 18. The majority are deprived of their right to school once they reach puberty.
Consequently, many of them resort to committing suicide rather than wait for the looming abuses from their imposed husbands. In one incident, an 11 year old went over a bridge and leapt into her death .
Talks to address the crisis came to a grinding halt in 2011 following the political turmoil that lead to President Abdullah Saleh’s ouster.