8 Year Old Girl in Yemen Granted Divorce After Forced Marriage

An eight-year-old Yemeni was granted a divorce after her father forced her into an arranged marriage:

"I am happy that I am divorced now. I will be able to go back to school," Nojud Mohammed Ali said, after a public hearing in Sanaa's court of first instance.

Her former husband, 28-year-old Faez Ali Thameur, said he married the child "with her consent and that of her parents" but that he did not object to her divorce petition.

In response to a question from Judge Mohammed al-Qadhi, he acknowledged that the "marriage was consummated, but I did not beat her."

Yemen, one of the world's poorest countries, has no law governing the minimum age of marriage.

http://www.metimes.com/Politics/2008/04/15/yemeni_girl_8_gets_divorce_after_forced_marriage/afp/ (Photo: AFP Khaled Fazaa) - via Arbroath

Am I the only one that shuddered at the phrasing of

"he acknowledged that the 'marriage was consummated, but I did not beat her.'"

Well, you get a pat on the back for that little bit of self-restraint, buddy!

I know some people out there are all about not imposing our western sense of moralities on other cultures, but poor or not, there has to be some line drawn between decency and depravity. I guess the difference in molesting an 8 year old girl and beating her is where this guy's line is drawn... ugh.
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What you said was innapropriate and ignorant. I really hope you don't think the western culture is the most ethically superior culture. In fact, western culture has brought many countries into ruins because of their power hungry ways. You should be arguing on the basis of ethics alone. You just glomped my "non western" culture and probably a whole bunch of other cultures and labeled it as secondary to the oh great western civilization.
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I have read Grok's comment several times and I frankly do not see where Grok is holding Western culture over any other culture (Eastern, Mid-Eastern, African, Antartic, etc.). I do read where Grok is of the Western culture, that's obvious.

I also read where wtf is sensitive to criticism from anyone from a Western culture. I would suggest that wtf save their indignation for the 8 year old girl. I see that what was done to her by her family and the 28 year old man who married her (i.e. physical/sexual abuse and the mental afteraffects of the same) to be far more serious than Grok stating their opinion. Let me say again, Grok was stating their opinion on the issue of the posted article. I cannot say that wtf's comments had anything to do with the posted article unless wtf is one of the abusers spoken about in the article.
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Use this format to make a comment:

Hi, my name is ____.

I disagree with the content of this article because of ____ and because I am of _____ descent - and my people are way better than Middle Easterners.

Please post more articles about how messed up Middle Easterners are - but don't do the same for my people, the ______, because if people write articles about how my people do crazy fucked up things too - then I can't feel superior to Middle Easterners anymore...
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Inappropriate, probably. My tact is still a work in progress. Ignorant, I'd like to differ. Morality and culture, while often intertwined as well as often synergistic, are technically discreet. I was addressing morals, which often transcends culture in the form of basic rights and wrong. The abhorrence of murder would be the most basic example, but even that seems to be mutable nowadays.

My point wasn't to presume that western morality is superior to others. I threw the comment on moral imposition to defuse the attempt to use moral relativism as an excuse by saying that the cosummation was acceptable since Yemeni morals, or more accurately, laws would allow the union. The rest of my comments were on the individual himself. My thought? Regardless of whether or not the law permitted it, it was wrong.

As for my own "non-western culture," I tend to embrace both the ways of the (non-western) country of my birth and those my my adopted nation, many times taking the best of both and finding a balance between the two. However, I still believe that there are some basic rules of morality, in this case protecting children, that are important, but may not carry as much importance in the morals of my birth country in some interpretations. The proliferation of child prostitution in some parts of East Asia comes to mind and continues to anger me.

Don't mistake upholding a moral that I hold in importance and evaluating an individual based on that as arrogance - I just call it a judgemental observation. It's also called an opinion. Arrogance would be me saying that the whole culture is broken and needs to be "fixed."

By the way, lumping "power-hungry" to "western culture" is much too generalized and borders on ignorant and inflammatory in itself. I think that adjective can describe pretty much any political or social aggregation of human beings, and isn't reserved for the west.

Long reply, but I just wanted to clarify. I'd like to say we agree to disagree. I'd also like to avoid drawing out this thread much further. Thanks for the discussion, though!
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I honestly don't see where Grok said anything arrogant. There is no single Western culture, nor is there a single Eastern culture. The issue at hand is state-sanctioned pedophilia, because the girl in question cannot possibly have reached puberty yet. In Many of the cultures traditionally categorized as Western, sexual contact with anyone who has not reached puberty is taboo and illegal. If any of you feel like being offended at someone who openly states that pedophilia is wrong, you need to own up to that.
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Whoops, I thought I proofread my post well enough before, but I just realized I used the wrong spelling for "discrete." To satisfy the grammar and spelling tyrants (which I normally am), I meant "discrete" as in "separate," not "discreet" as in "prudence or modesty." My English teacher would have strung me up for that one. Sorry, Mr. Devita!
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Interesting how Grok was accused of labelling other cultures, but Grok's accusers see nothing wrong with labelling "western culture" based on a deliberate misreading of Grok's comments.

I don't believe it's unreasonable for us to object to legalized pedophilia. If this story is indeed true, it would be morally reprehensible for any government or religious body to allow this practice to continue.
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I would imagine most cultures frown upon marriage before puberty?

This makes me think of the current situation with the fundamentalist Christian group in Texas - child abuse or cultural norms?
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Nothing wrong in what Grok said. He's actually being more accomodating than I would have been. I will assert that on the basis of this case anyhow, Western Civilization *is* superior. You cannot defend government sanctioned paedophilia via moral relativism arguments. Bean is also dead on -- an 8 year old is a child by any definition. If we were arguing about the appropriateness of marrying 15 year olds, there is more leeway for differing "societal norms" and ages of consent and the like, but a pre-pubescent girl is a child and by definition, that is paedophilia.
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I'm just so glad she was able to have a divorce.
The consummation thing hit nastily with me, but lots of people have commented on that, so I'll point out she said she wanted to have a divorce so she could "go back to school".

Speaks volumes in itself. I feel pretty guilty now about how I "hated" school, when I could have been married off before becoming anything like an adult, and then denied education which will be her only way out, if she wants/needs one.
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In the Bible it tells you how to sell your daughter as a sex slave. Here is the passage:
"When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl's owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment." (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT)
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Sid Morrison:
Well put.

I suppose this kind of crap is one of the inevitable side effects of polygamous cultures. Too many men looking for somewhere to put their penis, and too few unmarried women to go around. Or maybe all the adult unmarried females in Yemen have been executed for "adultery" or "driving" or "unaccompanied walking" and other such high crimes.
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superbad, you forgot... they may have been executed for being raped too.

Seriously, any culture that would allow something like this to begin is backward as far as I am concerned. I don't care what anyone thinks of me for that comment, but the last thing any 8 year old girl should be doing is getting married and having sex. That's disgusting.I don't think I am better than others, or somehow superior because I am a Western girl, but y'know what, I don't think highly of legal pedophilia.
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To "ahw" and others:

The Texas FLDS group (Mormons, by the way) did not marry girls until they reached puberty, not before, as far as I understand it.

Not that I'm defending them at all, but many cultures have seen it as normal for girls to marry younger than we do now, although 8 years old is a bit extreme.
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All right, someguy. But you must know that the age of puberty is decreasing. There have been cases of children under 8 going through puberty... and having babies. Does that make it okay? If the age of puberty one day goes down to 5, will that make child marriage more acceptable?

I hope not.
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It doesn't matter how old she was, if she didn't give her free consent it was wrong.

The problem in Texas is that many of these children gave their consent, but they have been so conditioned (brainwashed) since birth that obediance is all, that they cannot truly give their free consent.

If the child is of an age to still be in school (K - 12th grade), then the child is too young to be making life decisions, including getting married.
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Persephone's point about "free consent" is very important since 'Faez Ali Thameur, said he married the child "with her consent and that of her parents"'.
And the part that made me shudder most was that he said the marriage was consumated but he did not beat her. The first part horrifies me, the second even more so, because, what? Is that supposed to make him look better in the eyes of the world? He had sex with a child. But don't forget he didn't smack her! She's not hurt!
People (no matter where they are from) never cease to disgust me.
And I too agree with Grock and empty-minded.
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This really disgusts me. There are girls that young going through puberty but that in no way should make it ok for a man to marry her. What kind of man would marry an eight year old? A pedophile. Men in that kind of country regularly beat their women into submission and its perfectly fine and legal. And apparently legal to marry them at any age they please. Its really sick.

Oh and BTW.. grok-U-rock
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Really? We can't start judging? I'm going to judge. Even Yemen's next-door neighbor Oman has an age of consent, it's four, but it's still there. That's if you're married, though. Extramarital sex is punishable by death, at least for the female involved. I think the dude gets a fine.
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UGH.... how any man could look at an 8yr old girl sexually is beyond disgusting in ANY culture.
That is just WRONG. There is no telling what kind of damage he could've done to her physically and mentally.
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This is because of Muhammed's example of marrying Aisha at 6 and 'consumating' the marriage when she was 9. He was in his 50's btw, and Aisha was his best buddies daughter.
Most of her hair fell out when she knew she was supposed to 'go to' him and consumate the so-called marriage. (People can have their hair fall out under very serious stress)
If you want to argue with me, please dont, just go look it up in Islamic approved sources. It's all there. I didnt make this up.
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I don't think cultural standards should be used as an excuse to child abuse. Ethics and morals are not bendable reeds that can be made to twine into any shape you choose. We should all live by the same oath that doctors take -- first, do no harm. No matter what culture. As for defining harm, if it hurts a child, it's harm.
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so with all the discussion here... what action will be taken? We cannot simply bring the 8-yr-old over to the states because doubtlessly, she is not the only child to have been (or will be in future) forced into marriage. To the people who are against the cultural traditions and beliefs in Yemen, what is being done to change it? How much can it be changed? The people there can just argue that you'd be attempting to take over their culture when really, they're 'fine' on their own....or are we just going to post comments about it over the net?
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I am a military mom and my son told me that training included the facts and statistics regarding female abuse in the Middle East to help the men realize their mission to overthrow an evil government. This is just one very sad example. For us to just sit her and chat about how sad it is for the innocent female child to suffer under the evil governments leaves guilt on our hands. AS far as I am concerned, Yemen government should watch out. There is righteous people around the world that will turn against it and overthrow it if they do not repent, that is change their ways of treating children and women. And those people who know this is wrong should get off their materialistics heads in the sands of entertainment and sports and look at what really matters. We are like one world now, we hear the cries of the innocent. What can we do about it!
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