Forced Marriage; Teenage Girl Runs Away on Her Wedding Night PDF Print



Mogadishu, Somalia - Sagal* frequently passes by the clinic, to say hello to the medical and protection staff who work there.“You reignited my hope, how can I forget you?”  She recently told me with a beaming smile.


Sagal, a 17 year old high school student has dreams of getting an education. This almost came to an end the day her father  took her out of school to marry her off to a 50 year old;  a man old enough to be her father.


Since her parents divorced, Sagal was living with her mother who supported and encouraged her to go to school. “When my father told me of the plans to marry me off, I begged him to wait until I complete my studies but he refused. I was very bitter with him; it was not fair of him to make such a decision for me.”


On realizing the weakness of her position she took a decision that could have been disastrous for her. “I played along... the plans went on until the wedding day. I let the party happen and decided to run away from the man’s house at midnight. I ran back to my mother’s house.”


Her mother’s house was the only safe place she could think of till the following morning when a CISP community case worker got wind of her case, visited her and offered to help.


Sagal was accompanied by her mother and the community case worker to the clinic where we work, that’s when I first met her. She seemed distraught and frustrated.


She nervously rubbed her hands together and kept shifting her eyes as if she was on the lookout for something.  “My father is forcing me into a marriage that is making me hopeless,’ she said weeping as she walked into the counsellor’s room.


All Sagal wanted, was to go back to school and finish her studies.  At one point in the counselling process, we invited her father to meet me and the counsellor.  It took a long time to convince him to let her study; he was at the beginning very adamant.


He later decided to negotiate with the would-be husband to break off the marriage.


When she comes by the clinic to say hello, seeing her in her yellow school uniform makes me proud. I have met many girls in my work but her story stands out. Her bravery and strong will made her defy her father for her love of education.


*Name changed for confidentiality





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