11-Year-Old Yemeni Girl Nada al-Ahdal Escapes Arranged Marriage, Delivers Powerful Testimony (Video)

| by Emily Smith
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Nada al-Ahdal, 11, broke a longstanding tradition of child marriages after she managed to run away from her parents and alert the authorities.

She then delivered a passionate testimony against the practice that is spreading across the web like a wildfire.

The gifted singer was promised to an adult suitor twice, though her uncle interfered both times.

When Nada turned 10, her uncle called the man she had been promised to and told him that she did not wear the veil. He also told the suitor that Nada loved to sing, and that would never change.

The man immediately withdrew from the arrangement.

Months later, when Nada’s parents arrived at her uncle’s house in Sana’a, they attempted to kidnap her and marry her off to a second man.

“I would have had no life, no education,” Nada said, “Don’t they have any compassion?”

Nada escaped back to her uncle after her parents threatened her with death, and they reported her parents to the authorities. After an investigation into the forced marriage, Nada’s father retreated from the idea and permitted her to continue living with her uncle.

In her testimony, Nada told a story of her 14-year-old aunt who had been married for one year. After her husband beat her with chains, she drenched herself in gasoline and committed self-immolation.

“My mother, my family,” Nada said. “Believe me when I say: I’m done with you.”

Sources: Gawker, National Yemen