An 18 year old Saudi girl on May 24th shot herself with her 50ish husband’s rifle only a week after the nuptials. She left a note asking her family to forgive her and to pray for her. She also requested that her mother be the one to prepare her body for burial. According to the family, she had agreed to the marriage but had shown signs of depression the weeks leading up to the wedding and the first few days after marriage.
I thought about not writing about her but then I remembered what one social worker told AlRiyadh Newspaper that she knows of 3,000 child-bride marriages to much older men just in the past year. If an 18 year old would rather die, can you imagine how those 11 and 13 year olds feel?
I can pretty much guess the tactics that the family used to get acquiescence. I’ve seen it happen time and time again. One girl I know when she refused a suitor that her family liked, they ground her while her mother nagged her about it and her teen brother refused to eat or drink until she agreed to marry the suitor. This was a girl fresh out of high school. Although the groom was in his twenties, the girl was obviously not ready. While they were dressing her for the wedding, she told everyone that she will be single within a week. Surely enough a week later she came home and locked herself in her room until her husband divorced her. Unfortunately she had gotten pregnant and their child was raised by parents that should never have been.
Depression and suicide are a sad reality no matter where you live and whatever your background. However they should not be caused by being deprived of choice. Pressuring young women to get married might be a lesser evil than child marriages but it is an evil nevertheless.