My husband left me all alone to care for our dying child. We had been married for six years. I am fourteen years old. I live in rural Yemen, and at the age of eight, my life changed forever. My family was struggling financially, however at the time I did not understand that. All I knew was that I could no longer go to school, and we were very hungry. My father was also notorious for his gambling and soon had an unsettled debt. I was his solution. It was in the dead of night that I was suddenly woken by my father and dragged out of bed. My mother dressed me in the nicest of gowns and veiled my face, a steady stream of tears marking her own. She refused to answer my questions and would not look me in the eye. It was then that I noticed my young brothers and sisters and my many relatives standing around a small fire in the yard. Several people who I did not know were also there. As my mother slowly carried me outside, our guests sat on the dry grass. A strange man, who was at least fifty years old, was sitting next to the fire gesturing for me to come his way. The crowd pushed me until I was seated right next to him, closer than I desired. A quick ceremony that I did not understand was conducted, and the elders of my family recited several blessings. Once this was over, everybody started to dance; everybody except me that is. I finally understood what had just happened. I had been married- this was my wedding night. It couldn’t be though; I was just a young girl. But yes, this was the sad truth. I collapsed in horror and later awoke in an unfamiliar room. I cried for my mother, but nobody came. My dress was itchy and my head was pounding. I screamed and cried until finally an older woman rushed in. “She’s awake, she’s awake, come quick!” she shouted. A man, the man I married to be exact, came into the room. He was frightening and sickening. He barely looked at me before he thrust himself upon me and tore at my clothing. I wailed in protest, which was only met with more violence. He beat me and yelled at me, and I could not understand why he was doing such terrible things to me. He raped me throughout the entire night, until I was no longer aware of the situation. I woke to pain and terror at what my married life would bring next. The older woman, my mother-in-law, who had come into the room the night before came back and made me follow her to the garden. She pushed me and yelled until I finally understood my task. I was to harvest the fields, care for the livestock, and clean and cook for my husband. Each day was the same laborious work, and each night I faced the same horrors. This continued for months, without me ever laying eyes on any other children or hearing from my family. School was out of the question too; there was no chance I was getting an education when there was work to be done for my husband. I desperately missed my old life. I wanted to be a normal little girl again…playing with friends, going to school, not having a care in the world. I was exhausted and soon became very sick. I could not do the work they were forcing me to do, and so I was beaten. Just after what I assumed was my thirteenth birthday, as I have no birth documents, I realized I was pregnant. The abuse from my husband led to a painful miscarriage within months. This news only led to more violence. Just a few months later, I was pregnant again. My baby was born prematurely with no medical assistance. I was forced to endure four days of agonizing labour all alone. My daughter was born, but little did I know that we both had HIV. The premature pregnancy also resulted in fistula for me. I was not old enough to have a baby…I am still a child myself! The fistula causes me to leak everywhere and the stench is horrible. The nerves in my left foot have been damaged as a side effect, giving me a limp. I smelled so terrible that my husband kicked my daughter and me out of the house. I now slowly make my way to the village centre, a place I have rarely visited. My appearance does not shock anyone here; I am not an abnormality. There are plenty of other young mothers in the same situation as myself. I wander the village, looking for help that will never arrive. I look for friends, but I have none. I look for medical aid, but there is none. I look for a job, but nobody wants me. My baby will not stop crying and I have nothing to give her. We are starving and alone. Nobody stops to help us when we need it the most. I have been living in the secret world of child brides for what seems like an eternity, and I’ve got nowhere left to turn. My baby girl dies within weeks, and then I truly am alone.