Twelve is a magical age, where life is poised to leave childhood behind while reaching out toward the mysteries of women. Dolls sit on shelves but remain dear friends and babysitting becomes something to strive for, to feed the blossoming feminine need to nurture as well as to earn money for little dreams. Yet on September 11th, for Fawziya Abdullah Youssef (a 12-year-old who should have been a flower girl instead of a child-bride) life ended - awash in pain and blood.
Fawziya bled to death after three days of hard labor, a child forced to become a mother before her time. For most WOMEN it is a traumatic experience (pain of any kind for anyone is debilitating) but to force a CHILD to suffer through it for THREE days is a devastating commentary of sadness and disbelief. Yet, Fawziya is not the first Yemeni child-bride, nor is she to be the last. Unless something is done now to educate and legislate changes to protect these girls from the same kind of horrors Fawziya suffered through, thousands more will follow in her bloody footsteps. Without a minimum statutory age, there is no way to even begin to punish those responsible for this sick slavery.
This is where the hard working efforts of organizations like Equality Now help to make a difference all over the world.
Recent reports find that anywhere between 25% to 50% of the females in Yemen are married off before the age of fifteen - giving them the ghastly earned sobriquet of “the brides of death.” Many like Fawziya (married at a mere 11 years of age) are traded off like cattle to cousins and/or for the promise of high dowries. Little girls and young women without a chance to pursue their own dreams. Do you remember when you were 11 or 12? Do you know of a girl now who is that age? Can you imagine the horrors of being forced into maternal servitude without a say, to anyone with enough collateral to buy you?
Can you imagine dying after three days of horrific pain, giving birth to a stillborn baby - alone and unprepared? Now imagine it if you went through it as a child.
Don’t stop there - use that anger and disbelief and turn that energy toward something positive. Use it to do something, anything because there is always hope when good folk get together. It only takes a minute (at the very least) to donate something to an organization for change, like Equality Now. If you want to do more, you can write letters, speak out in blogs, twitter or get the word out via other social networking sites. Go to one of the remaining CSTS events to not only have a great time, but to donate to Equality Now so they can do more to bring balance to this impoverished area of the world.
If 8-year-old Nojud Mohammed Ali can fight the system in Yemen, and win - just imagine what we can all do together. When her father married her off to a man 20 years older than her, she fought and was granted a divorce. Because of her courage, others are becoming aware of their own rights for childhood, education and the chance to become what they want to be. So it doesn’t matter how old you are, if you fight the good fight, you can make a difference and bring about change.
Join with me in supporting these girls and women and do something for the greater good of all of humanity. Donate your time, talents and pocket change to Equality Now - because that’s what us Browncoats do best. This is the best way I know of “aiming to misbehave.”