Saudi Arabia: She’s Menstruating. Now What?

I wrote an earlier post this week on the subject of how Saudi Arabia will still legally allow child brides.  The post continues to generate a number of comments and considerable discussion on what factors or features determine a young girl to be of marriageable age in Saudi Arabia.

One perspective which has come up multiple times in the discussion is that if a girl has begun to menstruate then she is considered old enough for marriage, even if she is only nine years old.

This discussion is solely about Saudi Arabia and not to be compared with traditions, customs or traits of other countries.  However, since little data is available about the age and impact of early menstruation of Saudi girls, I found I had to use research data from other places to get an indication of the implications and whether young girls were mature enough for a marriage and children.

A research study was conducted in France about the health behavior of girls who had early menstruations.  The study concluded that early-maturing girls may affiliate with older adolescents, hence engage in risk behaviours linked to their appearance rather than their maturity level. Factors associated with early menarche highlight the need to focus attention on early-matured girls to prevent further health problems linked to risk behaviours.

The well-respected organization, Livestrong, states that menstruation which occurs before the age of 12 or 13 might signal an underlying medical condition.  Early onset menstruation, which follows precocious puberty, begins with the hypothalamus, explains The Nemours Foundation. The hypothalamus stimulates the pituitary gland to produce hormones, which in turn trigger the ovaries to produce estrogen. The surge in hormones might be caused by an underlying condition, such as a tumor, head injury or problem with the ovaries or thyroid gland. Precocious puberty might be inherited, although it happens rarely in girls. Most cases have no discernible cause.

Girls developing physically at young ages are at increased risk for aggressive behavior and depression, and they might withdrawal socially. At the same time, they are more likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as sexual activity or drug or alcohol use, than their peers.

There is little information available on the risks to pre-teen mothers.  Although there are pages of web sites for teenage mothers.  The sites for teenage mothers are in agreement that pregnant teens and their babies have unique and oftentimes high medical risks.

A teen mother is prone to a lack of prenatal care; high blood pressure; premature birth; low-birth weight baby; postpartum depression; and feeling alone and isolated.  If those are factors that a teenage mother typically feels, think how much worse it must be for a girl as young as nine?  She is clearly not mature enough or even in spite of menstruation, physically capable to have relations let alone give birth.

As of last year, the Saudi Ministry of Justice in conjunction with the Saudi Human Rights Commission made joint efforts to appeal against child marriages.  However, until/unless the Shura Council makes such a ruling official, child marriages and resulting pregnancies will continue in spite of the mental and physical dangers and risks to the child bride.

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6 Responses

  1. Now a days, girlys/boys as young as 11, 12 knows all about sex and they have all sorts of sexual relations and even babies. Teachers teaches how to have good sex at schools with video clips etc. Even though they dont know anything abt sex, teachers teaches in a very amazing way and put fire on them.

    Amazingly, list of mothers at 5 years old:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_youngest_birth_mothers

  2. http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jVmdMCkfcY0mi6bg-RVAJ0scaxSg?docId=CNG.08f465f0502f24565a5e31b0b7b8211b.141

    Electronic tracking: new constraint for Saudi women

    Since last week, Saudi women’s male guardians began receiving text messages on their phones informing them when women under their custody leave the country, even if they are travelling together.

    Manal al-Sherif, who became the symbol of a campaign launched last year urging Saudi women to defy a driving ban, began spreading the information on Twitter, after she was alerted by a couple.

  3. Call it anything you want, child marriage is equivalent to child molestation in countries where children’s rights are protected under codified non-religious rule of law.

    As long as Muslim clerics justify child marriage at any age, defenseless little girls will always be victimized in the name of god and Islamic teachings.

    http://bulletinoftheoppressionofwomen.com/2012/09/17/imam-says-young-girls-can-be-married-according-to-sharia-law/

    http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/03/27/nu-rules-favor-underage-marriages.html

  4. I hate the thought of any child being given to someone to settle a debt or to have one fewer mouth to feed. It just doesn’t seem right to be able to give people away like this, and it’s worse when it’s your own child.

  5. It’s brutal, savage and indicative of moral deficiency. Societies that prey on its most defenseless and most vulnerable are barbaric and must be labeled as such.

    Non-sectarian social contracts, empowerment of women and separation between mosque and politics will solve the problem and restore usurped decency.

  6. Selling baby gal for money to rich men? Saudi & Arab world in fact shud stop taking dowry from men and harassing men for more dowry …thousands thousands of dollar and poor men cant marry due to this heavy , unbearble dowry..not only dowry but after marriage keeping maid, maintaining her queen life, expensive cars, expensive house, luxury life style of wife..Very often arab women rejects men when he cant pay heavy dowry and she prefers to be 2nd wife of a rich man ..happily..

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