Sudarsan Raghavan’s Jan. 9 front-page artice, “In Yemen, children pay the price of revolt,” exposed how Yemen’s political upheaval and humanitarian crisis are harming children. It points out that rising poverty and displacement may result in more families marrying off young girls to ease financial pressures. More than half of girls in Yemen marry before age 18, and about 14 percent before age 15. In some rural areas, families marry off girls as young as 8.
Last month Human Rights Watch published a report about child marriage based on interviews I conducted in Yemen. Many girls and women told me that their families forced them to marry, and almost all of them had dropped out of school. They had little control over whether and when to bear children, and some suffered health problems from early pregnancies. Many said their husbands beat and sometimes raped them.