Nujood’s case made news around the world and inspired parliament to consider a minimum legal age for marriage. But when she tried to register for school, Nujood was initially refused because she had been exposed to sex. The teacher said she could taint the other children, according to Ms. Nasser, who also represented Nujood.
When Nujood heard about Sally’s bid for freedom, she pledged to give her $500 out of royalties from a biography being published about her. That is half the money Sally will need to repay her husband if she is granted a divorce.
Even though the judge believed that Nujood had been raped, she still had to give her ex-husband $200.
To get a divorce, Sally must produce written proof and a witness to the abuse.
A few weeks ago, during an Islamic holiday, Mr. al-Mushahi came to Sally’s family home. The roof of the house is a blue plastic tarp, and household water is lugged inside in dirty yellow jerrycans. Sally said she wanted to stay with her family. Her parents begged her to go back to her husband.
For three days, Sally refused to eat, and threatened to kill herself. Her parents relented, and told Mr. al-Mushahi it was over.
“As I told you before, I tried to convince her, but she doesn’t want you anymore,” Sally’s father, Mubkhoot Ahmed, barked into his cell phone at his son-in-law after he failed to appear in court.
Mr. Ahmed blamed himself for marrying off his daughter too young and for believing that Mr. al-Mushahi would not touch her before she was ready.
Sally said that when she was 11, she knew nothing about marriage, but agreed to the match because she would be lavished with gifts for the first time in her life. Her father supports his wife and five children by selling ground chili powder in the market. Sometimes he makes $2.50 a day. Sometimes he makes nothing.
“I was thinking only about jewelry and clothes,” said Sally, slapping her hands together.
Her father said he was afraid that Mr. al-Mushahi would be embarrassed that Sally abandoned him, and try to take his daughter by force.
In a country with little government control outside the capital, he said he is prepared to protect his family the old-fashioned way.
“I have only weapons to protect myself,” he said.