Last week, fourteen year old Wasila Umaru of Nigeria was forced to marry a thirty-five year old man against her will. So she poisoned him.
They quote 14-year-old Wasila Umaru as saying she used rat poison in the food because she was forced to marry a man she did not love (The Associated Press: 2014).
Umaru went to the police in confession and cooperation. She went to the same police who failed to protect her when she was being raped by a man more than twice her age. Wasila Umaru had no one to turn to, so she took matters into her own hands.
According to the International Center for Research on Women, one third of the world's women are married before the age of eighteen. That's a lot of child brides. Not unlike Wasila, eleven percent of the world's women are married before the age of fifteen (ICRW: 2014).
Of the former child brides I've met in my own travels, I'd estimate that a whopping zero percent reported being happy with their situations. Many relayed stories about domestic abuse, controlling spouses, and not being allowed to make their own decisions. Worst of all, all of these women alluded to a dire sense of powerlessness and no hope for escape.
Some might say Umaru was brave and acted in self defense. Today, this fourteen year old girl sits in a Nigerian prison, charged with homicide.
What happened to Wasila Umaru is a human rights violation. Perhaps we can save her future, and the future of even more child brides-to-be, by spreading awareness. #SaveWasila
Read more about child brides and other social issues in the new book "Around the World in 80 J's"
"Child Marriage Facts and Figures." ICRW. International Center for Research on Women, n.d. Web. 09 Apr. 2014. .
"Nigerian Child Bride Forced into Marriage Poisons Meal, Kills Groom and 3 Others: Police."The Montreal Gazette. The Associated Press, 10 Apr. 2014. Web. 10 Apr. 2014.