Nada Al-Ahdal: 11-Year-Old Yemeni Girl Flees Home to Avoid Forced Marriage

Allah’s mercy and blessings upon you. Hello to you all. I’d like to thank Mukhtar Al-Sharafi and Amal. I’d like to thank all the journalists and you as well. It’s true that I ran away from my family. I can’t live with them anymore. Enough. I want to go live with my uncle. What about the innocence of childhood? What have the children done wrong? Why do you marry them off like that?

I managed to solve my problem, but some innocent children can’t solve theirs, and they might die, commit suicide, or do whatever comes to mind. They’re just kids. What do they know? They didn’t have time to study or anything. It’s not our fault. I’m not the only one. It can happen to any child. There are many cases like that. Some children decided to throw themselves into the sea. They’re dead now. This is not normal for innocent children.

It’s true that I fled to my uncle, but he wasn’t home. So I called Abd Al-Jabbar to come and get me. Abd Al-Jabbar sent me a woman to travel with her back to Al-Hudaydah. When my uncle heard about it all, he came for me. I filed a complaint with the police against my mother. I told them that I am 11 years old and that she wants to marry me off. I would have no life, no education. Don’t they have any compassion? What kind of upbringing did they get? I’m better off dead. I’d rather die. I’d rather live with my uncle than with these people.

They threatened to kill me if I went to my uncle. What kind of people threaten their children like that? Would it make you happy to marry me off against my will? Go ahead and marry me off. I’ll kill myself, just like that. I won’t go back to live with them. I won’t. They have killed our dreams. They have killed everything inside us. There’s nothing left. This is no upbringing. This is criminal, simply criminal. My maternal aunt was 14 years old. She lasted one year with her husband, and then she poured gasoline over herself and set herself on fire. She died. He would beat her with metal chains. He would get drunk. Would it make you happy to marry me off!?

My mother, my family, believe me when I say: I’m done with you. You’ve ruined my dreams.