Real Life Cases of Child Marriages

We Encourage
Feb 12 · 6 min read


A survivor’s plea to end child marriage | Payzee Mahmod | TEDxLondonWomen

I was abused as a child bride and this is what I learned | Samra Zafar | TEDxMississauga

Girls Not Wives | Rachana Sunar | Oslo Freedom Forum 2016

Abolishing Child Marriage | Arzina Begum | Oslo Freedom Forum 2013

America’s forced marriage problem | Fraidy Reiss | TEDxFoggyBottom

Fighting forced marriages and honour based abuse | Jasvinder Sanghera | TEDxGöteborg

How I Escaped Child Marriage To Become A Women’s Rights Activist | Mercy Akuot | TEDxKakumaCamp

What does the Quran really say about a Muslim woman’s hijab? | Samina Ali | TEDxUniversityofNevada

I’m Here to Confuse you Mona Elthawy


Case Ms. Zahan

Carrie Ellman-Larsen, who teaches theater in public schools, isn’t usually out late, but on a mild night last August, she decided to go for a walk in her neighborhood, south of Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Within minutes, she came upon a fight. A man was blocking the path of a young woman — “holding her tight,” she recalled — while the woman struggled against him. Though Ms. Ellman-Larsen couldn’t understand the language, she was alarmed. “Something,” she said, “was very wrong.”

“Is everything O.K.?” she asked. The man responded, implying that the woman — his wife — was mentally ill. But Ms. Ellman-Larsen was not convinced. Men surrounded the couple. “Let her come with us,” they told Ms. Ellman-Larsen. “This is a Bengali thing. We will help her.”

But Ms. Ellman-Larsen was dubious. She wanted the woman in the center of the dispute to speak for herself. Finally, the woman uttered, “Forced marriage” in English. “I am not safe. Please, help me.”

Case Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun

A Saudi woman takes action and refuses to go back home. Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun is the Saudi woman who captured the world’s attention by barricading herself in a Thai hotel room after fleeing abuse in her own country. She has said she hopes to inspire other Saudi women to be “brave and free”. Read more:

Case Ali Lasloom

Lasloom, a 24-year-old Saudi woman, attempted to leave her family in Kuwait and intended to seek asylum in Australia. But after being stopped in transit in the Philippines, she faced being sent back to Saudi Arabia. According to a number of people who have spoken to BBC Trending, Lasloom attempted to escape an arranged marriage. In the video, she claimed the authorities in Manila prevented her from boarding a connecting flight, and took her passport. Read more:

#savebasma A Yemeni girl who fled to Turkey

This is based on a real, recent story, one that is still ongoing for a 24-year-old young woman from Yemen. She currently lives in Turkey. Amy is an ex-Muslim. Her story is not uncommon among ex-Muslims. It is one of the ways non-religious people are subjected to horrendous abuse and disownment by their families and communities simply for exercising their fundamental human rights of freedom of belief and freedom of religion. It is within an individual’s rights not to share the beliefs of their family and community, and to consider themselves ex-Muslims: apostates. Read more:

Case Latifa

On the night of March 4th, 2018, the daughter of the Ruler of Dubai disappeared. At the time of her disappearance, HRH Princess Latifa bint Mohammed Al Maktoum was attempting to escape her tyrant father in the company of trusted friends.

The boat they were escaping in was intercepted and its crew and passengers transported back to the UAE — returning Princess Latifa back in the hands of her furious father — Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Since that evening, Latifa has not been seen or heard of and is presumed to be held in captivity in Dubai on the orders of her father. We are seeking to raise awareness of this abuse of her human rights and seek her safe return. Read more:

Case Rana

Rana did not believe in Allah. And she was convinced that women deserve a life of freedom and equality. She knew that it was only a matter of time before she would be threatened, persecuted or murdered in her homeland because of her nonconformist views on religion, people and the universe, possibly even by her own family. Life in Saudi Arabia became unbearable for her, so she was eventually faced with a choice: suicide or escape? Read more:

Case Ali Nojoud

A 8-year-old Saudi girl divorced her 50-year-old husband.

When Nujood was granted the divorce, the courts ordered her to pay her former husband USD 200. In a nation where many live on just USD 1 a day, that is a huge amount.

In 2013, Ali reported to the media that her father had forced her out of their home and has withheld most of the money paid by the publishers. Her father has also arranged a marriage for her younger sister, Haifa. He used the money earmarked for Ali’s education to buy two new wives for himself, and, according to, sold Haifa into marriage with a much older man. Ali’s ex-husband only pays her an alimony of USD 30 a month. Also, Ali’s passport was taken because of the negative publicity she had brought for Jemen.

Case Hind Mohammed al-Bolooki

Hind Mohammed al-Bolooki, 43, says she was locked in a room at her home in Dubai in October 2018 by family members after she asked for a divorce, but she managed to escape and leave the country. Bolooki made her escape after being allowed to go to the toilet. She climbed through a window without her shoes and hid on a nearby construction site for two hours before asking a taxi driver to take her to a friend’s house in Sharjah, a city half an hour away.

Her asylum application in North Macedonia was rejected on Tuesday after what Bolooki’s friends claim was pressure from the local authorities of UAE to send her back to her family. Bolooki was given a grace period of 15 days to leave the country, but she has been held at a detention center for immigrants since 7 December with no prospect of release, and it is feared she will be deported back to the UAE when the clock runs out. Read more:

Case Loujain al-Hathloul

Loujain was first arrested in December 2014 after she tried to drive from the United Arab Emirates to Saudi Arabia. She was released after more than 70 days in prison and placed under a travel ban for several months.

In September 2017, the Saudi government announced that the ban on women driving was going to be removed the following June. Loujain received a call before the announcement from an official in the royal court forbidding her from commenting or talking about it on social media.

Loujain moved to the UAE and enrolled into a master’s degree in applied sociological research at Sorbonne University’s Abu Dhabi campus. But in March, she was pulled over by security officers while driving, put on a plane and transferred to a prison in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. She was released after a few days but banned from traveling outside the kingdom and warned not to use social media.

Then came her arrest in May. I hoped that Loujain would be released on June 24, the date for removing the ban on women driving. That glorious day arrived when the world saw Saudi women behind the wheel for the first time.

But Loujain was not released.

She has said she had been held in solitary confinement, beaten, waterboarded, given electric shocks, sexually harassed and threatened with rape and murder.

Case Yasmine Mohammed

Yasmine was born in California and raised in Canada.

“Years of depression and continued trauma later, I was forced into a marriage with a man I barely knew. I was nineteen when my mother sat me down and told me that she was sick and tired of me and that she no longer wanted to deal with me. I was sick and tired of her too. After years of fighting, I thought maybe if I just listen to her, maybe she’ll actually like me… possibly love me as she loved my sister, who never stepped out of line. And perhaps he will be a decent man. I was so tired of fighting, and so out of options, that I gave in. I didn’t approve of the marriage, per se, but in Islam a woman’s silence is consent.”

“After we were legally married, and I moved into his apartment, the beatings and the rapes began almost immediately. I would try to elicit my mother’s help, but she would only remind me of the verses in the Quran that clearly gave him permission to beat and rape me. Who was I to defy Allah’s commands? I withdrew inside myself under a black niqab that covered every bit of me, even my eyes. I also wore black opaque socks and black gloves delivered from Saudi Arabia.” Read more:

We Encourage

Written by

We Encourage, a completely new kind of impact startup, is on a mission to enable education, empower women and stop forced marriages.

More From Medium

Top on Medium

Top on Medium

Top on Medium

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade