Cross-Post: Nojoud Mohammed Nasser

This is originally taken from here.

“I asked and begged my mother, father, and aunt to help me to get divorced. They answered, ‘We can do nothing. If you want you can go to court by yourself.’ So this is what I have done.”

Nojoud Muhammed Nasser (also Nojoud Muhammed Ali) is just eight years old. Yet this young girl from Yemen has already demonstrated the kind of moral courage we can all be inspired by.

This year, Nojoud’s father forced the child into a marriage with a 30 year old man. Nojoud was repeatedly and violently raped by her husband. Despite her pleas for help, she found herself without assistance from anyone.

Read the whole story.

Rather than protecting her, Nojoud’s father beat her – and told her that she would find no way out of her situation because of their culture. Nojoud’s other relatives also refused to help – saying instead that if she wanted a divorce, she’d have to go to court alone.

So she did.

On April 2nd, Nojoud became the first girl in Yemen’s history to ever appear alone in court to request a divorce.

After escaping her husband, she took a taxi to her local court and filed to press charges against both her father and the man she was forced to marry.

While Yemeni law permitted Nojoud’s father to marry her off to an adult, the country’s laws wouldn’t permit her to prosecute. The odds were stacked against her in every way.

However, court judge Muhammad Al-Qathi, impressed with Nojoud’s courage, heard her case. He ordered that both Nojoud’s father and husband be arrested.

On April 15, a Yemeni court granted Nojoud an annulment. She is now living safely with her uncle, and is inspiring Yemenis to change the country’s marriage laws.

Nojoud’s decision to stand against an oppressive system on her own put her at great risk. Those who should have protected her did not. Nojoud knew that the only way to change her situation was to act on her own.

As an Agent of Moral Courage, Nojoud’s initiative didn’t just change her life. Her choice made history – and paved the way for change.

This 8-year old is a very special Agent of Moral Courage. She had no natural allies. She did not enjoy the freedoms and privileges many of us take for granted. She hadn’t even completed the second grade. Yet she took action. She exemplifies moral courage. May we all work to do the same.

 

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