#justicefornoura is the Movement Demanding Justice for Sudanese Women

11 May 2018

Digital Content

A Sudanese teenager killed her rapist, and Muslim women are fighting for her life

Islam is often blamed for violence towards ‘oppressed women’. The case of Noura Hussein, who is sentenced to death, shows otherwise.

Justice for Noura

‘Noura was sentenced her to death for defending herself against physical and sexual violence.’ Photograph: Instagram/Ahmed M'ayyed

Violence against women does not discriminate. One in three women across the globe experience physical or sexual violence in their lives, regardless of race, age or income. Intimate partner violence is the most common form, with physical violence occurring to as many as two out of three women who have ever been in an intimate partnership.

This is not news, and yet, the difference in how this violence is discussed is stark, depending on where and by whom it has been perpetrated. When the violence occurs in majority Muslim countries, pundits are quick to blame Islam itself, instead of noticing the army of Muslim women who are fighting for their rights within the faith, and defending women – and themselves – at all costs.

Noura Hussein, a young woman from Sudan, provides an instructive and urgent example. At the age of 16, Noura was forced into a marriage by her father. She refused and escaped from her family home near Khartoum to stay with her aunt in Sennar, around 250km away. She lived there for three years, determined to finish her education, when she received word that the wedding plans had been cancelled, and she was welcome to come home.

On her return, it became apparent that she had been tricked. The wedding ceremony was underway, and Noura was duly “given” to the groom. Distraught, the 19-year-old refused to consummate the marriage for a number of days. Within the week, her husband’s tactics became increasingly aggressive. Noura’s husband raped her, with the help of relatives who pinned her down during the act.

Teenager who killed husband after he raped her is sentenced to death in Sudan

When the husband returned the next day to repeat the crime, Noura retaliated. She stabbed her husband a number of times, ultimately killing her rapist. She thereafter returned to her family, who reportedly then disowned her and turned her over to the police.

Over a year later, on 29 April, 2018, Noura was convicted of murder. On 10 May, she was sentenced to death. His family was offered the choice of either accepting monetary compensation for the crime, or execution. They chose the latter. Now the family and community have 15 days to appeal the sentence. They are hoping to overturn the decision to execute Noura for defending herself against physical and sexual violence, and navigating an impossible situation that no young woman should ever face. Read the full article in The Guardian here.