Story of Riham
I am a 17 year old girl, and I still feel as though I’m a child. I don’t like to grow up. Growing up is hard. During my childhood, I used to go and play with my cousins, go to school, or play with my siblings at home. When I grew up, things changed. I had to leave my parents’ home and become a stay-at-home wife. In our culture, a woman’s role is limited to a house wife. I had dreams. I wanted to become a lawyer who defends women’s rights. A women in our society is weak; we have no laws to protect her. If her father wants to marry her off without her consent, he can.
This is what happened with me. My father forced me to marry a man I didn’t love: a man who doesn’t respect me or respect Islam. All my friends told me while I was engaged that he wasn’t for me. But I had no other choice.
I loved someone else. I loved someone who listened to me and who used to tell me that we’re just friends. Before my wedding by one day, he told me that he loved me but that we were not able to be together; he didn’t want me to suffer with him and his parents.
When I met my husband, I went to see him based on our traditions. We sat together and talked. I told him that I would love to be his friend and not only his wife. I told him that I’d love to share his sorrows and joys. He didn’t have a problem with that, but when we got engaged, I told him a lot of private things and he went and told his mom. She came and scolded me, so I broke off my engagement because I didn’t want my private issues to be known. When I told my father of this, he beat me up. I didn’t end up breaking off our engagement, so we got married. I was really scared and hateful of my husband and the wedding all together. When I got married, I noticed a few actions from my husband that I really did not like. He used to leave me to stay up late outside the home. He used to tell me that he hates the way I look and he only wants me for sex. Once, I was sick and couldn’t finish the night like he wanted, so he sent me back to my parents’ home. I told them I wanted a divorce, so my dad got really upset then he calmed down.
We got divorced after a week of getting married with no pregnancy. Everyone told me that it’s a good thing I didn’t get pregnant, but I didn’t even know sex lead to pregnancy. I ended up telling people that I got divorced after a month so that they wouldn’t gossip about me. I stopped my school education just to get married, but I ask all parents not to stop their daughter’s education. I believe there should be a law that protects girls from getting married before the age of 18.