Thursday, April 17, 2008

Child brides

Girls in Libya seem to be getting married at younger ages these days. It's something I can't understand. If a girl in America got married at age 16 it would most probably be because she was 'in the family way' and even nowadays maybe that's a bit old-fashioned as most would just choose to have the baby on their own and not even bother about marriage. But in Libya, where arranged marriages are still pretty much the norm, it seems the trend is to marry young girls.

My daughter Nora's friend, aged 17, is getting married in July. The girl isn't thrilled about the idea; this is all her mother's idea. The woman (who I think is a complete idiot) is so excited because the guy (in her eyes) is filthy rich. 'He's given her expensive presents and says he has two houses in Europe, where he's been living for quite some time' she says gleefully.

What is this woman thinking? The man is about 20 years older than her daughter and the girl is only going along with the idea to keep her mother happy. And her mother has been going on and on about this for the past few months causing the girl to give up all thoughts of education because all her mother can keep her thinking about night and day is wedding plans, wedding dresses, wedding gifts, wedding this, wedding that, wedding, wedding, wedding. Most likely she will fail her last year of high school because she's been diverted from any thoughts of studying. The guy is going to find himself with a poorly educated teenaged wife half his age who doesn't love him or care about him (and doesn't know how to cook either) - what is he thinking? Maybe he's some kind of pervert. Sigh....

Two years ago one of Nora's friends got married at age 15. Two weeks after the wedding the bride came over to visit Nora and the girls sat in the living room and played with Barbie dolls. It was bizarre.

Just yesterday I read a news article about a Yemeni court ordering the termination of the marriage of an 8-year-old girl. Eight years old? Isn't that like pedophilia???

Ladies have been asking for the past few years for my girls and some have actually argued with me when I told them that all girls should be educated; hold some kind of certificate or diploma in their hands and preferably working before thinking about getting married. Who knows what they may face in the future - they need to have the ability to take care of themselves.

Nora's friend has decided that all her friends can be bridesmaids at her wedding - this is a new western idea that Libyan girls are adopting. The girls had to spend an entire afternoon and evening discussing the dresses and visiting the seamstress who will be making them. An entire afternoon and evening that none of the girls did any studying and final year of high school exams are just around the corner. It's all like a big game the girls are playing... this is getting out of hand.... sigh...


  1. Yes, it seems that Libyanmen have no way of getting married before they are in theit fourties (house, gold,house contents etc.)and decide that they want 17, 18 and 19 year old brides! And they usuatlly get them because the mothers are worried that if the don't marry their daughters off by the age of 21 they will have 'expired' and may never have the chance to marry. It's such a shame because these girls have no idea how to deal with a 4 something year old man. Iknow of a lot that have ended in the girls returning to their family house (with a baby of course!) within the year.

  2. I thought this stuff had ended way back when our mother in laws were girls ! Next they will bring back tattoo's on the chins and wrists !OMG ! The girls and women already have been pressured them into wearing the veils again .The girls childhood is gone, were as the irresponsible groom can continue his happy life as before. Nothing ever changes for the guys . Just a different woman doing the maid and cooking work .What century is this now ????? 2008 B.C. ?

  3. Girls, getting married earlier... that sounds good, at least it's better than having (( Grandma brides ))

    In the other hand , men will find it easy to re formulate them the way they want.(GREEN CHILD)

  4. Just had a thought ... why doesn't someone contact the Texas Child Protection agency to intervene for this poor child ? Underage , forced marriage , which means she will be forced to have sex with a adult over half her age. Maybe they will take her into protective custody . Do you think ?

  5. Oh my goodness!! Somebody should really talk to this poor girl and tell her what she's going to put herself through.
    I guess she hasn't even thought seriously of the time after these exciting events,when the real life begins!

  6. What are u going to do about ur girls marrying when the " time comes".. are they gonna have an arranged marriage or are they going to be able to " fall in love " or not and have the liberty to chose what they want to do and when to do it?

  7. Assalamo A'laikom

    I believe a girl should have a choice regarding the level she would stop her studying at, regarding the age at which she would like to get married, and, of course, regarding the person with whom she is going to share her life.

    In order to be able to decide for herself she should be mentally fully mature.

    This mother is not deliberately putting the future of her child on danger, she could be an uneducated old woman who didn’t have a chance to go to school, so she doesn’t know how important for a female to be educated.

    also, some poor families do that because they couldn’t effort the requirements of their daughter, so they rather transfer her to someone who is willing to be her father and husband at the same time.
    Also we cannot be judgmental, and criticize the guy for his intention, Libyans are mostly childlike very innocent people.

  8. well hmmm

    although i Fully agree about the wrongness of 8 year olds and even 15 year olds getting married by force... but 17 year olds is probably young but an acceptable age...

    and the girl's conscent is needed of course, who knows maybe she would get a husband soon? do you garantee her a husband at a later stage?


    in the U.S.A, taking larger statistics, how many "average" and above girls,,, hit the age of 17 wihtout having pre-marital sex or even close relationship?

    isnt getting married a more healthy approach for the arab world?

  9. Maturity, or fixed age is needed?

    In life we could see youngs with full maturity and some adults with lack of maturity.
    In my humble opinion, it doesn't matter what the bride's age is. if she is mature enough to handle the family concerns.
    In the other hand, having Child brides is much better than Grandma Brides.
    (Old maids) is a result of the most common statement " Let her finish her study", so with the tall ladder of the education system, the risk of being old maid is likely existed.

    Advice: Teach your daughter how to become good mom, and don't rely on the certificates.

  10. Parents are ready for a big wedding bash
    Sold daughter to an old fart for lot’s of cash

    A little young girl still plays with Barbie dolls
    Her parents already ringing her wedding bells

    Doesn’t even know the meaning of “bride”
    Her mother brag about her trade with pride

    Replacing her diapers with a wedding band
    Something is sick I could never understand

    They’re excited cause the guy is filthy rich
    A sign of a dumb father & a lunatic bitch
    Or maybe he’s a warlock & she’s a witch

    A groom is old enough to be a grandfather
    Useless parents & to them it doesn’t matter

    Snatching a young girl from her childhood
    Is a problem that could not be understood

    A problem effects girls in the entire nation
    Causing our girls to give up their education

    An old pervert & his age he tries to hide
    The girl‘s story, made me sick & cried

  11. mahmud abudaber / USA GET A LIFE.

  12. To Anonymous --
    I have a life and a healthy one too -- I have a name (I do not hide under anonymous like a chicken)-- Everyone knows where I live -- I share my views with other bloggers instead of attacking them. So stay hiding in your chicken coup. Chicken

  13. Writing a rhyme for approx. every post Khadija publishes is sad to say the least. If you enjoy it, then fair enough keep it up. P.S. I like being anonymous, its cool, like you enjoying rhyming.

  14. Im Afnan not anonymous.. just forgot my account hehe!
    salam3lykom... well personally i have a few different point.. speaking out as a young Libyan girl who may i add was born and lived all my life in the same city in the UK,, where there r no libyans except the few random students here and there, i personally was ready to get married at teh age of 15 and said it to my parents.. not because i was forced into it or constantly lectured bout it.. no quiet the opposite..i dnt see the idea of marriage as fun and games.. i matured way before everyone else at skool and in my family too.. but i feel that if i agirl is ready and willing then y not.. and education is very important for a women.. just incase u never know wat may happen to her husband in the furture, die or even put in prison for god knows how long, an education is very important in that aspect of a girls future, but a man shud take on his responsibilities as a husband and as a father, i do not agree with girls getting educations to concentrate on their careers, im old fashioned in the sense that women have their place and men do too.. and these lines shudnt be crossed.i dnt disagree with women working and have a job no,dnt get me wrong, but her work shudnt come in the way of her family and her marriage.
    the age of a girl and a guy.. shudnt be looked at too closely, dnt forget there r women in libya who marry women that r older than them..this child marriage age of 8 that is unislamic.. without concent is unislamic..both guy and girl shud agree and shud see each other and talk bout their future.. this business bout rich and poor.. the wealth is in the dein (relgion)not in material rubish.. cos ppl will not be judged for how much money they had in the bank or wat they work as.. but they will be judged bout education, bout how they treated they wife or husband.. so ppl need to think bout that and not think bout childhood, childhood is all gud, but how long is meant to last for, we r judged for all our actions from the age that we understand life and wat is right and wrong, so personly i think age of 17 is fine.. maybe her fiance will let her finsih her studies if that is one of her requests.. at least she is protected now and cn do alot more in her life than wat she could livin at home, rather than these girl in libya who r not married and r living the lives of men... wen i come to libya i really feel sad cos the roles have reversed, u dnt know who is the guy and who is the girl.
    i could go on forever on this subject.. and talk to u bout my personal life and how me and my own blood sister disagree on this subject..we r totally oposite lool..

  15. To Anonymous
    You're saying and I quote you "Writing a rhyme for approx. every post Khadija publishes is sad to say the least" and my question is what's the problem here, it's not your blog and is none of your business whether I write in rhymes or write in Greek. The bottom line is you are a very empty and lonely person. So get on with it and get a life. You're a very stupid and arrogant person.

  16. If I were born a Libyan woman I'd throw myself into incoming traffic, just after I bought some bright red paint and wrote in big red letters PIMP on my fathers car.

  17. "If I were born a Libyan woman I'd throw myself into incoming traffic, just after I bought some bright red paint and wrote in big red letters PIMP on my fathers car."

    With one Quarter of teenage American girls in the US ( between 14-19 )having STDs one would have thought you were the ones being pimped :)))) . At least in Libya they are given away for marriage not just for lustful sex :P. So you can still through yourself in front of a car.

  18. Ph.....obviously without the "D"
    what an odd response to my comment! I didn't realize the topic was sexually transmitted disease! I was simply trying to point out that I'd sooner die than be considered chattle to my family. To be quite honest, I think Muslims and Mormons have quite alot in common! First, they both start with the letter "M". You both devalue women, education, equality, self expression, and independence. You thrive on fear and repression. So PH...when you get your D...lick your thumb and stick it up your a-hole, and sniff it. Cuz that's what you smell like.
    Oh, and and Condoms prevent STD's...not religon.

  19. i am a libyan girl and i think it's weird and crazy and some mothers are just ediots i believe that a woman should have a life on her own be independent it's like they think that the only path for a woman is marriage

    (love your blog it's all i want to say but can't)
    keep on blogging

  20. Surprised you didn't reply with a serene rhyme/poem for us. Ahh well next time. Thanks :-)

  21. Awww.. i'm amazed with the comments of tankgirl. she always make me laugh, if u were to throw yourself in front of a car, i'd vicitmize for u to save you, where can we get spicy girl like you!!.. wt a shamless jerk Lool.. but 2 be fair, i only come to this blog to read your comments

  22. A belated comment here. But I just had to point out that the legal age for marriage in Libya is 20, for both sexes. But as tradition takes precedence in some people's minds, they either just ignore the law, or are not even aware of it. And as the 'kitab' marriage contract is done privately in homes,many a ma'dun has been known to turn a blind eye to underage marriage. Libyan girls do have the legal right to represent themselves and to Refuse a marriage, and they can even elope and get married in a police-station/court if that's what they want!
    Umm Salwn


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