Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Incorrect Language

This article on CNN details what happened to a child when she was married to a man in his 40s in Yemen.  The first sentence says:
“Yemen’s human rights minister wants child marriage outlawed after an 8-year-old girl reportedly died of internal injuries that she suffered on her wedding night.”
While this sentence is outlining a horrible act that happened to young girl, it doesn’t go far enough or place the focus in the right place.  Where is the mention of her attacker (husband)?  A better way to put this sentence might be:
“Yemen’s human rights minister wants child marriage outlawed after a 40 year old man raped an 8 year old girl, resulting in her death.”
Wedding night brings to mind romance, anticipation (the good kind), and kindness.  It doesn’t invoke the terror and violence and pain this child experienced.  Later in the story they phrase this type of violence against girls in a slightly better way: “In 2010, a 12-year-old Yemeni bride died of internal bleeding following intercourse three days after she was married off to an older man…”
There is a lot of controversy in Yemen around this crime, the least of which is if it is even a true story.  To me the fact that it is possible is enough.  It is bringing up the right questions so maybe something positive will come out of it and the laws can be changed.  This is not the first story of its kind out of Yemen.
CNN should know better than to make the story only about the girls who are married off too young.  The story should be about why men in their 30s, 40s, and older are finding it acceptable to “marry” and then rape girls who are far too young for sex in every way.  They may be their wives by law and probably considered property (that may be the only means of survival for girls living in extreme poverty around the world), but they are still children.  Anyone who can’t recognize that needs help.

Originally posted 9/17/13.

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