– Every day I locked myself into the bathroom and hit my head at the wall until I fainted.
Movie director Khadija Al-Salami (45) tells about the time as a newlywed, but this is no giggling tale of a romantic honeymoon. When Khadija was a bride she was just 11 years old.
Khadija was married off to a friend of an uncle. Afterwards they traveled to Saudi Arabia, thousands of miles from her hometown Sanaa in Yemen. The groom had not been present at the wedding. After the wedding party Khadija went out to play with friends.
She still do not know how old the groom was, but she suppose he was in the late 20s. She had been furious when they told what had been decided. She would not know anything about him or see pictures of him.
For years she hated her parents for the betrayal.
Yemen has no minimum age for when entering into marriage.
The groom had promised Khadija’s family not to touch her until she was at least 14.
– But most men violate this, Khadija says angry.
Her uncle accompanied her to Saudia Arabia and left her with the man, a stranger.
She remembers that she was placed in a room, how she fought against him. Clawed him. How terrified she was.
– He was so much stronger than me, says Khadija about the assault that followed.
– It is not an arranged marriage. It is arranged rape!