The parents of a girl who refused to enter into a forced marriage, have been arrested for allegedly pouring hot cooking oil over their daughter and beating her with broomsticks.
Maarib Al Hishmawi, now 16, ran away from her home in San Antonio, Texas, after months of abuse in order to avoid marrying an adult man in another part of the state, Bexar County sheriff Javier Salazar said.
She was later found “safe and sound”, and is in protective custody along with five siblings aged between five and 15, he added.
“We became aware of the fact that mid-last year, mid-2017, there had been a marriage arrangement made between the family of this young lady and an adult male living in another city, whereby approximately $20,000 (£14,000) was going to exchange hands,” Sheriff Salazar said.
“This young lady at various times over that time period was subjected to some pretty bad abuse because she didn’t want to be married to this person. Several times, it was reported to us, this young lady was abused with hot cooking oil being thrown on her body, she was beaten with broomsticks.
“At least at one point she was choked almost to the point of unconsciousness, and it’s really heartbreaking to hear. The only way this young lady could bring an end to this abuse was to verbally agree to become a party to this marriage. At that point that the marriage was going to take place, the young lady left home and she ran away.
He added: “My understanding is that both parents are involved in the physical abuse. We don’t know if those other siblings are victims of any abuse.”
Maarib’s parents Abdulah Fahmi Al Hishmawi, 34, and Hamdiyah Sabah Al Hishmawi, 33, now face charges of continuous family abuse.
Her mother is understood to be the one who threw cooking oil on her, Sheriff Salazar said.
The man to whom Maarib was intended to be married may also face charges, he said. adding: “We do know who he is, my understanding is that we have talked to him, at least, the FBI has talked to him. It’s highly likely that he will be facing charges as well.”