My name is Fatima*, they say I am a child, but am I really? I am only 14 years old but listen and judge for yourself if I still have my childhood.
I was asked to write a story about my rights. I asked; do I have rights? I did not know that. I live in Missan governorate and you know tribal traditions have a big influence on life here. I was forced to leave school and my parents married me to a man who is 10 years older than me, imagine that! And after one and a half months he divorced me.
Some people say that reason was that he had very little income, he worked as a laborer. Other said that it was because the difference in age.
If you ask me, I don’t know why he divorced me. What I know is that he treated me very badly and I did not know how to adapt to my new life. One moment I was playing with other children and my friends and the next I was a wife. I don’t know until now what exactly being a wife means and what responsibilities come with this and what rights. If you know you might be able to tell me.
Someone explained to me my rights as a child but I did not understand what they mean. I did not know we had rights and I thought my rights were within the hands of the people who take care of me. Now I know that my rights were violated.
I was forced to leave school and was married and divorced. I am still trying to understand if these rights I have will give me back what I lost and will these rights guarantee my future? Will they defend me? Will they bring back my school and my friends? Will they bring back my self-confidence? I am now a different person since I’ve been divorced.
I thank you for listening to me and I hope you can help me to at least get some of my rights and I hope you spread the idea of these rights more because a lot of people here do not know what the word ‘rights’ mean.
* Fatima’s name has been changed to protect her identity