“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.”

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  • Your Comments

    • brina parkins

      how to cite this , who is the author ?

    • Scotbella2006

      What a courageous little girl, God bless her

    • Tjsimpson1961

      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!!

    • memi

      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…

    • behnam

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

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

        Isalm has abolished such acts, in Islam, a woman shouldn’t be forced to marriage but muslims do it the way they like, i mean, the way men like

    • Mmakiwara

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

    • http://twitter.com/itscooljohnd4u John Dominic Adeyemi

      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!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/ramatu.abdul.7 Ramatu Abdul


    • JCPENA

      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.

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

        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 :)

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

          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.

    • Pat

      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.