When I think of South Sudan that is free of forced marriage and child marriage, my goes on a trip….imaging all that work it will take to to even begin to negatively connotate forced or child marriage as dangerous practices against the lives of thousands of South Sudanese girls. Can we change this? Where would we begin, how would we begin it and when should we begin it? The more questions you ask, the closer the responsibility is to the one who thinks than anybody else. There is no doubt, abolishing forced marriage and child marriage will take time. But a better question to begin this with is, who should initiate how these practices need to be abolished? I say, anyone and it begins when we begin to see what is wrong. It begins when we begin to see wrong as wrong and it begins when we substitute wrong with good and it is only when life is what is good, our desire becomes about how to save it no matter the gender.
Three weeks ago, a friend of mine texted me and in detail, laid out for me, one of the most trafficking marriages that is only possible in our culture. A young Nuer girl was forced by her uncle, her father’s brother to leave school from one East African, neighboring country to another and be joined with a mate he prearranged for her. The girl was in her form2, an educational level which has led thousands of people to fulfilling jobs as we are talking, in Jinub. The girl was devastated and came to a conclusion, like thousands of other Jinubin girls, that her life was not worth it. She made a young Nuer man on the road and for the reason only God knows, they both began to exchange conversations. Her life story came out as a result and it became apparent that she had a plan. The conversation continued off-road and a third person was quickly added by the young man. This person, knowing what needed to be done, intervened and talked the young girl out of the thought of killing herself.
I’m not going to mention your names, but you two have saved a life and I’m, with all I’m, so proud that within us are people rich in love. A love for a life no matter whose one it’s.
Back to the dreading story. The girl ended up going to the country where she had been called to and upon her arrival, she was told there was nobody else to pick her up except the man whom she knew nothing about except his name. He delayed to pick up his arranged bride again which was just another opportunity for something good to happen. The first young man was involved again, having her ended going in a different direction. However she thought afterward that she may end up being caught by her uncle. She left for Jinub only to realize there were people waiting for her at the border….She was brought back but due to the growing awareness of the situation, the uncle dropped giving her up to the prearranged man.
What a situation! And I had to admit, this is the only attempted forced marriage/trafficking marriage whose ending did not end up too tragic. The past three week stories have been like, “She killed herself after she was forced” and if you have really been active on social media, you have probably noticed, it was just one story after another.
Will forced and child marriage ever be the things of the past? When I think about this, again, my mind uncontrollably soaks in tears. As we can tell, this whole thing of selling girls to men is only getting more creative. We cannot use poverty as the reason for selling girls. It sure is not about girls because 99 percent of the time the man is the foreign neighbor except he lives next door and all that is known about him is if he is working or whether he has cows in exchange. But what will it take to come out of this? If the safest place is no longer home, where is safety for us? If the protectors are no longer the parents or family members, who will we go for protection?
Girls, when possible look after your needs….