Two years ago, Nujood Ali's story made the 8-year-old child bride famous. She appeared on multiple television and award shoes, and in 2008, Glamour named her their "woman" of the year. But despite the fame, little has changed for Nujood.
Today, Nujood lives with her family in a two room house in an impoverished suburb of Sana'a. She does not go to school, and, according to Paula Newton for CNN, she has changed from being a bubbly, happy child to a rather angry and sullen girl (although, who wouldn't after suffering so much abuse?). She sits down grudgingly for an interview, during which she laments the fact that she made her story public:
"There is no change at all since going on television. I hoped there was someone to help us, but we didn't find anyone to help us. It hasn't changed a thing. They said they were going to help me and no one has helped me. I wish I had never spoken to the media," Nujood says bitterly.
But one important thing has changed for Nujood. She is no longer married to her much older "husband," at whose hand she suffered horrible physical and emotional abuse. After a few weeks of being beaten and raped, Nujood turned to her family for help, but her parents told her that she belonged to her husband now, and so they could no longer protect her. Desperate to leave, Nujood hailed a taxi and traveled to the city's central courthouse, where she sat on a bench and demanded to see a judge. Fortunately, the judge believed Nujood's story, and granted her a divorce (under Yemen law it is legal for a 30-year-old pedophile to marry a child, but just as long as he leaves her alone until she is "mature," something we somehow doubt she gets to decide). Unfortunately, the legal system in Yemen does not punish men who have sex with 8-year-old children under the name of "marriage," and instead required Nujood's father to pay her former husband over $200 in compensation.