Patriarchy and the burden of the Yemeni women…! Written by Lisa Gardner of Yemen

Child marriages was seen as acceptable tradition in the Middle East and Yemen alike as educational levels were far below the stages of advanced societies. Many proverbs depict a woman is not whole unless married (Incidentally the proverb is said for men also as a safeguard against immoral deviation), a common proverbs of a patriarchal nature, and that depict women as inferior without the support of a husband, thus these proverbs are rife in the Middle East. For example, ii Egypt a common proverb is “a shade of a man is better than a shade of a wall”. And in Yemen, a common proverb is, “A woman only has two options: a husband or the grave”. With such proverbs, a fertile ground could be found to establish male domination and for women to be perceived as insignificant and worthless if not married they must be buried.We must all be passionate to investigate into the subject matter and bring to light the causes of child marriages in Yemen, as many girls are victims of a child mariage I know a young girls who was married at the age of thirteen and still she struggles to this day to come to terms with it. Therefore, as women we must bring an awareness on what can happen as a result of such marriages. Young girls are not yet fully equipped women and will never be mature andcready to be wives nor able to bare the responsibilities of a sexual wife. They cannot be mothers, nor are they able to become so, due to the negative implications of their physical and psychological development. Child marriages is nothing but child abuse and must be eradicated worldwide. As in any society there will be violations and exploitation of children that might not be seen as acceptable and violate human right. The question that is most crucial to addres today is why are child mariages seen as acceptable yet also seen as a good practice However, child mariages are for a intents and purpises, under age sexual exploitation of children. It could be argued the word sitr ( ستر ) played a role in female minor mariages the word sitr in Arabic langage means to conceal – occultation, or to cover. In the contexts of minors marriage or marriages, in general, it implies to prevent girls from misbehaviour)! (I.e., Not to be driven into extraordinary temptation in the future since she is married. Therefore, girls are depicted as becoming vulnerable to promisuity if they are not married. Marriage is seen as a seal of chastity to saceguard for women against future promiscuity or sexual misbehaviour but how can a child be promiscuous? And why are boys not treated as girls in respect of marriage , why does chastity fall on girls more than boys? Thus, there is also no restriction to a minimum age of marriage in Yemen .The only protection for under age girls who are married from marital rape is under article 15 of the Personal Status Law that prohibits sexual intercourse until the girl has reached puberty. However, this law is not always eenforce There is also no law to protect women from marital rape as it’s seen as the husband’s right to summon his wife to have intercourse at any time he desires, and women must not object to their husband’s needs otherwise women are cursed as stated by the Whabbie branch of Islam. Should we not protect Yemeni girls from such barbaric act, or should this practice remain as acceptable in the Yemeni society

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