Sitting on the floor and dressed in black, the 15-year-old held her baby as panicked tears welled in her eyes. Her husband, two decades her senior, could kill her if he found out she was telling her story, she said.
She was married at age 13 in the West African nation of Guinea because her parents feared she could harm her marriage prospects by having premarital sex. At the time, she said, she had not even developed breasts.
“I was given to a man that I didn’t choose before my body was even ready to have sex,” she said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals. “I couldn’t even move for a week afterward because I was swollen and bleeding.”