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article imageChild bride Nujood Ali's life after the divorce

By KJ Mullins     Aug 27, 2009 in World
Last year Nujood Ali stood up with character more than her tender age of ten and was counted. The young child bride who at the age of 10 asked a judge for a divorce. She was an innocent at the time.
Today the young girl has lost that innocence as she struggles to deal with the poverty that traps her and her family.
In 2008 Nujood was Glamour Magazine's Woman of the Year. Today she is a child who can't afford the transportation to get to the private school that donations paid for her to attend.
She is the subject of a tell all book but is has not seen the royalties that book promised to bring her.
4VF News reports:
“I was happy I got divorced but I’m sad about the way it turned out after I went on television,” she said adding that she feels like an outcast even among her family and friends.
In early 2008 the child was forced to marry a man in his thirties by her parents. She was beaten and raped by her husband. When she asked her parents to help her escape from the abuse they told her that they could not protect her.
The LA Times quoted Nujood in 2008:
"I asked him not to sleep next to me," she recalls. "He told me, 'No, we sleep together in the same room. Your father agreed to accept me as a husband.' "
She did what was unheard of at the time. She went to the courthouse and waited for a judge who hosted her temporarily. The judge also had her father and husband put into custody for a short time.
In Yemen where Nujood lives it is common for a child to be married off. At least half of Yemen's girls are brides by the age of 18, some as early as eight.
Marrying a daughter off early takes one less mouth to feed at the dinner table.
With marriage education is no longer allowed.
Her lawyer, Shada Nasser, had to fight to allow the marriage to be over. Her grounds were the rape of a child. The judge asked Nujood if she would resume the marriage after a 'rest' of three to five years. Nujood refused. She hated her husband and wanted to return to her former life.
When Nujood was granted the divorce the courts ordered her to pay her former husband $200. In a nation where many live on just $1 a day that is a huge amount.
At the time Glamour quoted the young girl.
“It made me strong,” she smiles. “Now my life is sweet as candy.”
She returned to a life of poverty.
After the divorce much was written about the young girl who returned to school with dreams of being a lawyer reported the LA Times:
"I want to defend oppressed people," she says. "I want to be like Shada. I want to be an example for all the other girls."
Today Nujood is an angry young girl. CNN reports:
"There is no change at all since going on television. I hoped there was someone to help us, but we didn't find anyone to help us. It hasn't changed a thing. They said they were going to help me and no one has helped me. I wish I had never spoken to the media," Nujood says bitterly.
Nujood was strong but her life has not returned to normal. She now knows that the divorce did not heal all the wounds. The media world still hounds the child.
Yemeni diplomat, Khadije Al Salame, a former child bride is trying to help the girl get her life back. She told CNN:
"She doesn't understand what's going on. She's a little girl and we have to understand as a media people that we should leave her alone now. If we really love Nujood then we should just let her go to school and continue with her life, because education is the most important thing for her."
Nujood now lives with her parents. They are angry that the media attention did not bring them money. Her lawyer worries that Nujood is again a victim.
Sadly, Nujood has learned that sometimes the fairy tale ending doesn't come.
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