Amal is 11 years old and seeking a divorce.
The young Sudanese girl was in elementary school when a 38-year-old man asked for her hand in marriage.
Her father accepted the proposal, and Amal (not her real name) was immediately wed.
In Sudan, child marriage has been woven into the fabric of the country’s culture, driven by tradition and poverty. More than a third of girls there are married before their 18th birthday, according to a 2017 UNICEF report, and 12% are wed before they reach 15. Under the country’s 1991 Personal Status Law of Muslims, children can marry when they reach “maturity,” which is only 10 years old. It’s the lowest legal age of marriage in Africa.
Pre-teen bride Amal says she was repeatedly abused at the hands of her husband, who smoked cigarettes as he beat her.
“He treated me horribly,” Amal said of her husband. “Then when the beatings became every day, I went to the police station.”
A doctor who evaluated Amal’s injuries at the station found evidence that she’d been tied up and assaulted.