Terrified and fearful for her future, 11-year-old Nada al-Ahdal fled her family in her hometown in Yemen to stay with her uncle nearby. Why? Well, her incredibly gut-wrenching description of her experience — and that of millions of girls across the world — is too powerful for me to try to put into words.
Look into her eyes and let her explain to you herself. At 1:38, she asks a question that the whole of humanity needs to answer.
Thankfully, Nada escaped her forced marriage. In a message sent to NOW, Nada addressed every mother and father seeking to marry off their daughters: "I am a child and I want to realize my dreams. My aunt was forced to get married so she burned herself to death, and I saw pictures of her with burns. Let me realize my dream. I want to go to school, become a star, and help other children. I am not thinking about marriage, I don’t want to now. I want to say to fathers and mother, 'let us realize our dreams, do not kill them.'"
UPDATE (8/1/2013): There are claims that this video may have been fabricated for publicity reasons. Read The Majalla's investigative piece on this video, and if you have any additional information, please send it to me and I'll continue to update this post.