When I was 14 years old, I was kidnapped for a marriage to a much older man, as depicted in the film Difret. On the day I was abducted, I was raped by my would be “husband.” I knew I had to fight back and escape the first chance I got.
I was taken to a hut and locked up. When I received another visit from my abductors I saw my chance. When he was suddenly called away, he left his gun leaning against the wall and the door unlocked. My father had taught me how to fire a gun, so I took it and ran. When he and his friends chased me, I shot him. It was the most terrifying, horrible ordeal of my entire life — and I’m one of the lucky ones.
I was accused of murder and after 2 years in the courts, the judge ruled that it was, in fact, self-defense. My trial led to a re-examination of this tradition and the Ethiopian government is now working to end child marriage and female genital cutting by 2025. In addition, the African Union recently launched a campaign to end child marriage across the continent.
I am now dedicating my life to working on this issue and to give voice to the screams of unheard rural women and girls. I don’t want to see the same story happen to any more girls. And yet, it still is.
You can help. Please join me in Ending Child Marriage around the world by signing this petition, asking President Obama to sign the executive order that would help prevent an estimated 39,000 child marriages every day.
To see her inner strength, strength to move the process forward. A few World Leaders have signed bills to End Child Marriage. The World Leaders are moving slow. All victories, women are being heard, conversations are taking place.
Please read her story. It’s painful, unimaginable and most courageous yet my soul feels progress for reading her story.
The movie Difret@Difretfilm highlights real courage. The movie received an award Sundance and others at it traveled to new audiences.
This petition is supported by Global Fund for Women, Ms Magazine, Equality Now and Truth Aid. The petition is supported by highly respected Advocates. Please sign and join advocates around the world.