Another Yemen child bride has died after being tied up and sexually assaulted by her husband who was twice her age. 13 year old Ilham Mahdi al Assi died of internal injuries sustained when her “loving husband” forced himself on her just days after they were married. Stories about the deaths of Yemeni child brides are becoming more and more frequent.

Having child brides in Yemen and other Islamic countries is a customary practice. Marriages are arranged between families and girls as young as 11 or 12 are promised to older men. Last year a 12 year old Yemeni child bride died giving birth; this death however appears to be much more brutal in nature.

The United Nations child agency released a statement saying that they were “dismayed” about yet another child bride death. But it’s doubtful that they will step in and put the screws to anyone for fear of seeming to be anti-Muslim.
A law in Yemen was repealed that set the minimum age for marriage at 17. The law was deemed un-Islamic. Child brides are preferred due to their penchant for obeying the husband; in essence they’re less likely to speak their mind and disgrace the family.

Ilham Mahdi al Assi’s brother made the arrangement with Abed al-Hikmi in order not to pony up large child bride prices. Assi’s brother was promised al-Hikmi’s sister as well. Fox reports that al-Hikmi took his new wife to a medical clinic asking the doctors there to give her tranquilizers so that she could not resist his sexual advances. Sounds like a real upstanding guy.

Police say that he [al-Hikmi] felt under pressure to consummate the relationship, seems his manhood was in question. The girl’s mother had also asked her to give in and have intercourse in order not to shame the family. What is it with these people and shaming the family? Looks to me like the family has already been shamed when you give up your daughter as a child bride; once that marriage takes place her childhood is gone.

Several human rights groups along with the United Nations are currently trying to apply pressure on the government of Yemen. Child brides should be outlawed they say, and I agree. The problem is the pressure those governments receive from religious leaders on the other side outweighs pressure from UNICEF or the UN.