“I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced”

When her family would not help her escape the horror her life had become, this Yemeni child acted on her own.

“I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced”Photograph by Delphine Minoui
My head is spinning—I’ve never seen so many people. In the yard outside the courthouse, a crowd is bustling in every direction. No one sees me: I’m too small for them. I’m only ten years old, maybe not even that. Who knows?

People say judges are the ones who help people in need. So I have to find one and tell him my story. I’m exhausted. It’s hot under my veil, I have a headache, and I’m so ashamed.

I spy a group of men in uniforms. If they see me, they might arrest me. A little girl running away from home. Trembling, I discreetly latch on to the first passing veil, hoping to get the attention of the woman it conceals. “I want to talk to the judge.”

Two big eyes framed in black stare at me in surprise.

“What judge are you looking for?”

“Take me to a judge—it doesn’t matter which one!”

She stares at me, astonished.

“Follow me,” the woman finally says. The door opens onto a room full of people, and at the far end, behind a desk, a thin-faced man with a mustache. It’s the judge at last. I sit down, rest my head against the back of the chair, and await my turn.

“And what can I do for you?” A man’s voice rouses me from my dozing. It is a curiously gentle voice. I rub my face and recognize, standing in front of me, the judge with the mustache. The room is almost empty.

“I want a divorce.”

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27 thoughts on ““I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced”

  1. Darn shame the 4th page of this article nearly crashed my computer! Next time I’m at the library hopefully I can find a book about this brave & unusual young woman.

  2. That is so bad that this is happening today , I felt so sorry for what she has been through. She was so brave to decide what she really wants and have a normal life.

  3. Wow, what a way to grow up!!!!! Terrible that this happened and still happens, but glad to hear that this young lady had the courage to get away!!

  4. اسلام چنین اجازه ای به هیچکس نداده که بنام تعدد همسر جنایت بکنند.جاهلیت در یمن از عقب افتادگی آنها ناشی می شود.آدم یاد جاهلیت زمان حضرت محمد (ص ) می افتد که دختران را زنده به گور می کردند…

  5. why the government authority dose not approve against it… how they see and tolerate abuse the child under the name of islam .

  6. very painful story  I even cried when I was reading it. brave to the little girl

  7. Incredible…. almost thought I was watching a movie or something….. was this really REAL? Wow!! A single act of bravery by the Little girl ( or is she a woman now at 10yrs/13yrs?) anoda Wow!! has changed their destinies 4eva…. Neva b afraid of d Unknown, but rather be daring to tread & face your deepest & darkest fears; for therein lies your Freedom & breakthrough…. Shoutout to Nujood, her family & ofcourse all young girls going through such an Unfortunate fate in life….. Let Peace & Love guide our every action(s) & Inaction(s) and the world would be a better place for it…. Hmmmmm, some story this is I must say… Wow!!

  8. What a bunch of animals this Yemenis are, the culture is absolutely below savage, animals have more respect for their kind. GOD BLESS AMERICA. THE BILL OF RIGHTS. THE CONSTITUTION. WE MUST UPHOLD THIS FOR EVER AND EVER.

    1. Cruelty is everywhere!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!even in America!! Crimes are everywhere!!!!it has nothing to do with the country or the religion!!!!but people there, i guess, are sooooo poor which makes life unbearable, especially if the number of members is high.i am trying to imagine that i was born there and that’s makes me terrified but fortunate. i am from Tunisia and things like this don’t happen with Tunisian women. GOD BLESS TUNISIA :)

      1. the rates of rape and domestic violence against women and children in the US are amongst the highest, if not the highest, in the world! i remember watchinga similar case of an American girl aged 14 who was raped by her own father and so are many, not only specifically in the US but also everywhere around the world. so since you called the Yemenis are animals, can we deduce that Ameicans are animals too?!!!
        No, i don’t think so!!!!!!!!!!!
        Neither Yemenis nor Americans are animals.
        the problem, the biggest problem lies in our vision of the other, be it gender- based, culture- based or religious- based.

  9. Reading this brought tears to my eyes.  I will never understand how an adult can be sexually attracted to a child when there are so many sexy men and women who are ready, willing and able to engage in these behaviors.  This sick world needs to end so our children in the world can be safe.

  10. oh  i felt so embracced not to help these young victims. we do not have that power. but if all women get to gether  our power is imence to stop this . she can be me , my sister .. even you sometiem ..somepast..please we should stop this. 

  11. I look forward to the time the Bible speaks about, when the “meek, will inherit the earth” and as Psalms says “You will look for the wicked and he will be no more”.

  12. Nujood’s story touched me to the core. While my wife and I have no children, I could not help but replace Nujood’s face with the many girls of friends that I know here in America and it hurt. Just to imagine what that little girl had to endure. The first question that surfaced was, despite the traditions of Yemen, what was the religion of this little girl?  Even as I read the story I realize that at such an early age parents are the only god that they really know. But I am thankful that there is a Supreme supernatural God who is personal and like a good father is able to see all and has arms that are not to short that he cannot reach out and help when he hears the cry of his children, regardless of his children’s age. In Christianity he comes to us by his Holy Spirit in the person of the Son, Jesus Christ. “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” (Jer 33:3) In little Nujood’s case she cried out and was heard by God who worked through her lawyer Shada and the judge to get her a divorce and deliverence. When the Son sets you free you are free indeed. (Jhn 8:36) Wesley Jones                      

    1. hi, Wesley!i liked what u said about the spiritual part in Christianity, but i don’t think Nujood’s story has anything to do with religion. Fortunately, religions, like judaism, Christianity and Islam abolish these acts of savagery and cruelty against women. But people’s understading of these religions is the problem.
      I hope stories like these stop happening, though we can’t stop stupidity and poverty that lead to such ends :)

  13. Reader’s Digest deserves a salute for publishing this story of Nujood. There are still many good people in this world who can do the same help to our fellowmen who are truly in need of help. Let’s campaign for it. It’s this kind of work that gives glory to our God who will use people who are helping for special purposes.
    God will always be with those who love their fellowmen.   

  14. The display of courage and bravery by this young Yemen girl is unbelievable.  However, the disgust that came over me after reading this story, is overwhelming.  I cannot imagine how many girls go to sleep at night after experiencing such repulsiveness.  And the thought that the Yemen Parliament could not change the laws that effect these girls. What kind of men are they? What kind of father’s, brothers, grandfathers are they? Spineless weak human beings.  In the USA, we would have enough jail cells to contain all those sick human being.  This it not new news to me, however, my daughter reads Reader’s Digest, and she had many questions for me, main question being WHY?

  15. Deeply touched,I am eager to introduce this story to my Chinese friends.

  16.  nice. i don’t ever think this kind of cases. but i impressed by her action

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