Hillary MargolisAugust 7, 2013 05:10
Commentary: Syrian refugees are reluctant to seek help from police, whom they see as corrupt. But many families remain determined to protect their daughters from violence and exploitation.
9-year-old Rania * (right), sits on a swing inside her extended family's home in East Amman, an area where many Syrian refugees have rented apartments. Her father and all the men in the family are still in Syria.
(Moises Saman/Magnum for Save the Children/Courtesy)
When I met them in early June, Abu Nizar, his wife and their three daughters, ages 22, 18 and 14, were perched on threadbare mattresses in a rundown house in Ramtha, Jordan, where they survive on charity from the local community. Blankets covered the windows to keep out the mid-afternoon heat. Inside, a musty darkness hovered. Abu Nazir pays almost 300 Jordanian dinars per month – nearly $424 – for rent and utilities. Alone, he and his wife could rent a room for 70 dinars. He said to me, only half-joking, “Of course my daughters need to get married – it will lift the burden off of me!” A doctor from Dubai asked to marry Abu Nizar’s 22-year old daughter, Rima, and he seriously considered the proposal. “He’s related to people who live upstairs. He’s a doctor, he has studied,” Abu Nizar told me.