29 Oct 2018

Hilda’s escape; Revealing the fingers behind child mothers

Oyam district: Hilda shares on how she was trapped into being eloped at 13 years of age

This story is published with due consent from the girl and her parents.

By Abet Tonny

The icy dawn of Monday 6th August 2018 caught Grace at the premise of Agomi Primary School found in Oyam district, Northern Uganda. Grace is the project officer for Girl Child Voice Project at GLOFORD Uganda. She had gone to hold a deeper chat with Hilda. Hilda is a 13 year old girl currently awaiting her Primary Leaving Examination (PLE) this coming month of November 2018. Thanks to the great decision Hilda took, the humiliation she chose to contain going back to continue with studies even after being eloped.

Hilda’s story will reveal to you how some heinous elders continue to tirelessly push teenage girls into early marriage, child motherhood and being defiled.

This is a sharing from the dedicated effort in causing social transformation by GLOFORD Uganda through the Girl Child Voice Project. You might love to read the project details here>>>GIRL CHILD VOICE PROJECT LAUNCH IN OYAM DISTRICT

Let’s explore Hilda’s narration…

I was in my second term of Primary Seven when Betty, an elderly woman from near our home started luring me into falling for a 29 year old married man. Betty ensnared me into believing that I was humbly ripe for marriage, that education was wasting my time and that the boy is ready to marry and take care of me. Her persistence and insistence in revealing to me the pleasant mysteries I was missing in not having a man would later turn me into accepting the boy she was proposing to me. Tom was the man Betty successfully lured me into accepting with belief he would marry me, take better care of me as his second wife.

Tom would soon force me into sex, and it was on a Sunday night when Tom trapped me into sleeping with him forcefully.  He had made his way to the small hut where I sleep, my father with his keenness eventually caught us in bed with Tom but Tom was sharp enough to elude and run away.

My father was bitter with me and he was determined to follow this matter to the last dot and on Monday morning, he reported the incidence to police and took me to school to get a letter from the Headmaster that confirms I am a pupil. I was also taken to hospital where I was examined and tested. There was no major damage caused in me.

On realizing that the matter was about to hit her, Betty also ran away. Up to now, Tom and Betty are nowhere to be seen now.

With the help of my father, I realized that Betty was luring me into losing my future. I have since gone back to school to continue with my studies.

My major worry was however, how I would manage the humiliation from my fellow pupils for they had all known my story. It has been a lot of taking insults but I am pushing on with the help of the teachers, especially the senior woman teacher, Madam Esther Akello who has helped me so much by stopping fellow pupils from humiliating me with their insults.

Narrating the noble interest of GLOFORD Uganda in the Girl Child Voice Project

Now with the help of Girl Child Voice (GCV) Project, the young girls like Hilda her being motivated to stay in school, be exemplary and succeed. This is done through sensitization and amplification for equal rights for girls.

GCV asserts that boys have always received better treatment. A boy would often be given second chance to continue with their studies even after impregnating a girl but a girl caught in sex would be utterly stopped from studies for good by most parents. GCV pursues the end to this disparity. GCV however, does not encourage immorality but rather responsibility among parents and children alike. GCV stands for parents taking full responsibility to take care of the girl child, provide them sanitary pads, support them in all ways during menstrual period and treat them equally like they would to boys.

Hilda would be one of the child mothers by now. The positivity of parents towards education and eyeing a better future for their daughter gave Hilda a chance to continue with her studies. What are you doing within your reach to stop social motives promoting young girls into becoming child mothers?