Escape from jaws of forced marriage

Date: January 1, 1970
  • SHARE:

The writer followed the trend of childe abuse in Zimbabwe. In four articles the writer exposes the issue of forced marriages of young girls to appease the avenging spirits. Girls between the ages of 8-15 are traded off in marriage as compensation for murder allegedly committed by family members. The stories are published between January and April of the same year indicating the frequency of such incidences

This article may be used in training to:

1. Conduct research on Child Abuse
2. Prepare participants to observe patterns in the community affecting young girls.
3. Use the media to draw public attention to police (or authority, which is usually male) response and its complacency when it comes to issues of gender equality.

 Trainer’s notes
The writer has shown courage in tackling a sensitive issue. Many communities continue to believe and insist on negative cultural traditions that affect children. The writer has represented views from all involved in a logical manner and with sensitivity. A traditional healer explained to the writer that several mysterious happenings must manifest themselves before a family can claim being haunted by avenging spirits. Another elder told the writer that compensation could be done in the form of cattle or cash through a chief, bringing different dimension to the issue.    
Throughout the reports the writer follows and maintains a balanced perspective. The writer challenges stereo types and culture by obtaining first hand information when she followed one of the girls to her hiding place to interview her and give her own personal account. In one of the stories the girls’ parents were helpless, as they believed in the avenging spirits themselves yet not willing to have their daughter married off as compensation. The reporter showed bravery by approaching the police who had sent the girl back to the same community. Fearing her own security and safety the girl had later escaped to relatives in the city where reporter was able to interview her.      
Discussion Questions
1. What makes this a balanced story?
2. Is there any missing information in this story? Explain.
3. Do you think women police officers would have been more sensitive to this issue? If so what should be done with regard to recruitment of officers into the police.
5. Is there a role of traditional chiefs in modern society? If so describe what should be their role in the context of this story.
Training Exercises
1. Research and study existing legislation on Child Protection relating to this article, what legislation applies ? What are the gaps in practice?
2. Have participants identify and then investigate and write an opinion article about a cultural practice that is harmful.
Links to other training resources
1. All sides of the story; Reporting on Children. Pages 55 – 60   
2. Finding Gender in MDGs. Chapter 2
Related GL Commentaries

Download : Forced Marriage

Comment on Escape from jaws of forced marriage

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *