There are an estimated 85,000 people living in modern slavery in Yemen (GSI 2018). Young girls are subjected to child forced marriage, with UNICEF estimating 32% of girls being married before the age of 18. There is currently no legal age of marriage in Yemen and poverty, the practice of dowry and strict social and religious customs are drivers of child marriage in the country. With the onset of conflict within the country, estimates suggest that child marriage is on the rise.
Tehani was 8 years old when she was forced to marry a man much older than her.
During sex I was crying and begging him to stop but he didn’t listen. Then he put his hand on my mouth like this. I couldn’t breath and I was crying but he used me anyway. And I just cried.
My age is 8.
They were decorating my hands with naqsh but I didn’t know they were going to marry me off. Then my mother came in and said ‘come on my daughter’. They were dressing me up and I as asking, ‘where are you taking me?’ they just said ‘come, come’, and then they performed the wedding.
I don’t know how children are made but they get pregnant and they deliver a baby. They carry it inside their stomach and then they deliver, and it comes out a baby.
We were studying when my mother was still alive, but then she passed away and they don’t allow me to go to school.
Narrative produced and provided by Too Young to Wed