At least a number of 16 underaged children married off by parents in four communities in the Tatale- Sanguli district of the Northern region have been rescued.
These victims were rescued within a spate of three months through efforts by an individual named Simon Kweilla, a student of social welfare in Accra.
The minor girls aged between 9- 16 were forced by their fathers to marry fully grown and matured men mostly farmers.
StarrNews visited one of the communities, Sangban, and found that a very significant number of the teen girls were seen out of any engagement heavily pregnant or babies strapped to their backs.
The practice has brought a sudden and unexpected end to many childhoods in the area
A rescued victim, 13, ( name withheld) who shared her ordeal with ghnewsnow.com’s Eliasu Tanko said, she was severally tortured sexually and beaten by a 45yr farmer who forced to marry her.
“My father called me one night when I was cooking and told me to follow a certain man to his house and that that is my husband. I was crying because I don’t know the man. My was also crying. When I wont go my beat me and took gun to shoot me”
“When they forced me to the man’s house, i refused to sleep in his room and he also beat me that night. His three friends came and forced me and he had sex with me”, the victim narrated to ghnewsnow.com in a welled up tears.
According to the victim the man is a subsistence farmer with two wives and more than 3 children.
Another victim aged 16years said she was compelled to spend nights in a small corridor inside the house of her ‘husband’ because she feared being raped or molested.
She said her husband had two wives with more than seven(7) offsprings.
“He forced me and I said I won’t enter the room and he beat me. I slept outside two days because I don’t want him to fuck me”
The two victims who dream to become a nurse and a soldier respectively have now been rescued under a fray circumstance; and have since been sent back to school.
Forced marriage has remained a challenge in the Northern part of Ghana despite several intervention measures.
A Multiply Indicator Cluster Survey conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service(GSS) in 2011, indicates about 27.4 percent of minor girls are married off either by parents or guardians.
Investigations by Eliasu Tanko also found victims mostly are desperate to escape their new life but fears that their parents would disown them and the disgrace that comes with being a runaway bride.
Poverty and tradition are said to be behind this practise, which is most common in the rural areas.
However, those opposed to the practise say, parents see their daughters as source of income and even wealth.
Mr. Simon in an interview with ghnewsnow.com said some of the victims were married off at birth
According to him some parents used their daughters as collateral for financial and other urgent assistance even before they were born
He described the mission as life threatening and daring. He revealed a number of times he had to run for his life from the wrath of angered parents or guardians.
Mr. Simon indicated that he now caters for all the victims because they have been disowned by their fathers for disobedience.
He has formed a women group in most part of the district to help fight the practise.
Story By: Eliasu Tanko