A video posted online by an 11-year-old Yemeni girl has gained worldwide attention after she claimed she ran away from her family to escape an arranged marriage.
Nada al-Ahdal said she was saved from the arrangement only after her uncle intervened, the Daily Mail reported.
“Go ahead and marry me off. I’ll kill myself,” she says in the video, dated July 8, and posted by the Middle East Media Research Institute.
“Don’t they have any compassion?’ I’m better off dead. I’d rather die,” she continued. “It’s not [the kids’] fault. I’m not the only one. It can happen to any child. … They have killed our dreams, they have killed everything inside us. There’s nothing left. There is no upbringing. This is criminal, this is simply criminal.”
The little girl laments having to leave her family, saying she “would have had no life, no education.”
Nada is one of eight children and was taken in by her uncle Abdel Salam al-Ahdal when she was age 3, The Mail reported.
But when a Yemeni expatriate living in Saudi Arabia asked her parents if he could marry her, they readily agreed.
“But I’m not an item for sale,” Nada said in an interview with National Yemen.
“I’m a human being and I would rather die than get married at this age.”
More than a quarter of Yemen’s girls marry before age 15, as poor families struggle to say no to hundreds of dollars for their daughters, according to a report in 2010 by the Social Affairs Ministry, The Mail reported.