“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.

from the book I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced, by Nujood Ali with Delphine Minoui

“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.”

  • Your Comments

    • Mysoreshamalie

      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. 

    • Lcpepping

      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”.

    • Wesley Jones

      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                      

      • http://www.facebook.com/amirovska.papillon Amirovska Papillon

        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 :)

    • Danny Picache

      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.   

    • Disgusted Mother

      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?

    • Sungold001

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

    • Belen Z.

      What an amazing story of  Courage!

    • guest

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

    • irma

      Cried while reading the story…but i admire her bravery!

    • guest

      Very Nice Story!

      • brina parkins

        This is real life , not just a story .