Home | News    Saturday 23 October 2010

Girl kills herself after being forced to marry in Lakes state

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By Manyang Mayom

October 21, 2010 (RUMBEK) – A 17 year old school girl has killed herself in Wulu county of Lakes state last month after being forced to marry a man by her family, according to police and the county Commissioner.

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School girls from Hope and Resurrection Senior Secondary School, in Rumbek East county of Lakes state South Sudan, 20 Oct. 2010 (ST)

Nyikada Ngoki from the Yidula tribe who was forced to married Adal Mangok of the Yiberti tribe shot herself dead using a gun belonging to his in-law after she was left in house by herself.

Nyikada’s family of Ngoki received a dowry of SDG 3,000 ($1,268).

According a family member, who did not want to be named, Nyikada had told her parents she would kill herself if she was forced to marry Mr. Mangok.

“There is no legal procedure case being open against the both family after girl killed herself” said the family member.

In Wulu county dowries are often paid with with money, honey and cattle.

County commissioner Gideon Shilur, said that he had ordered the local police to apprehend the family in question but no progress had been made.

Force marriage was “not our culture” said the commissioner. “We don’t have cultures of force marriage,” said Shilur.

The commissioner said that he was going to sit down with Wulu community to discuss this at a “family level.”

Lakes state advisor for gender and human right affairs, Adak Costa Mapuor, said rural communities needed to double their effort to avoid cultures which are harmful to girls’ education.

Costa said that marriage is often a gentleman’s agreement in Dinka society.

“We need time to educate [the] population […] although we don’t have proper law [to] regulate marriages in Dinka society,” she said.

Another young school girl, Martha Athou Lueth, 16, was beaten to death by her family in September this year when she became pregnant, according to the headmaster Anthony Mading.

The student at Hope and Resurrection Senior Secondary School in Rumbek East county of Lakes wanted to marry the father of the child but the relationship between the two families did not allow them to marry each other.

Women’s rights issues are still a major problem for women in Sudan.

Girls from Hope and Resurrection senior secondary school in Atiaba Payam (ward) of Rumbek East county told their stories to Sudan Tribune on Wednesday.

Adut Makur Matak

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Adut Makur Makat, 15 who is being forced to marry an older man by her family, Hope and Resurrection Senior Secondary School in Rumbek East county of Lakes state South Sudan, 20 Oct. 2010 (ST)

Fifteen year old, Adut Makur Matak broke into tears as she described how her parents are attempting to force her to marry a man over twice her age.

“I don’t love this man – this is first time I see him in all my life” she said.

Adut says that she learned that the man had tried to look for a wife in Khartoum but had failed. He is also divorced from his first wife, she says.

Her parents have continuously tried to convince Adut to marry the man despite her telling them she was not ready to get married.

“I told them my condition that I am underage and I need to continue with my education first – I [tried] hard to convince my parent[s] telling them that, I just [was] left with two years to complete secondary school. But they closed-off their mind.”

She says she told her parents that she did not love this man. “But my relatives refuse and I have no alternative […] I don’t know what do “said Adut.

Adut’s father, Makur Makat told Sudan Tribune that the girls were “the property” of both her family and her future in-laws. “It is agreement between my relative and my in-law to married Adut to a husband whom we selected to her,” he said.

At first he said he objected but he was convinced by his future in-laws’ offer of a dowry of 120 cows.

Adut’s mother has set only one condition to the man her daughter is due to marry. She made him sign a document with the administration if Hope and Resurrection School to guarantee that he will let her complete secondary school studies.

Deborah Yar Makuei

Deborah Yar Makuei, 16 years old, told Sudan Tribune that parents should stop forceful marriages because it was hampering girls education. Educated girls, she said, can manage her house and parents without difficulties.

According to Deborah some families force their daughters to marry in order to receive the dowry, which can be many cows.

Despite girls wanting to gain an education parents often overlook this as they “love cows” more than the life of their girls, Deborah said.

She accused the southern government of “turning blind eye [to] forceful marriages.”

The school girl appealed to girls and parents not to allow girls to get married at a young age.

Early marriage and uneducated women were having a negative impact on the community she said.

Yar dreams of becoming a lawyer so she can deal with land disputes and forceful marriages in Sudan. “I need to become lawyer in the future – I need to know more [about] policy, about our land and [the] cultures which kill our community.”

Presscilla Amat Gabriel

Presscilla, 15, told Sudan Tribune that she wished families would look at young girls and see future leaders, rather than looking at them and thinking of the cows they can get from the dowry.

“We need freedom from earlier marriages and forceful marriages so that we can continue our education correctly without disturbance”.

“All women in Southern Sudan are subjected to fetch water and cook food for [their] family,” she said.

“We are sold in exchange for cows and on we end up in bringing up a poor family. That is how many in our country will continue to be. We will continue to have a poor country if our women are not educated”, said Priscilla.

Priscilla said she would like to become a doctor if she is able to complete her studies.

Lakes states parliament has passed a provisional Act to stop forceful marriages in the community but that act has not been recognized by the community.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 23 October 2010 03:06, by Oduck Bol

    ’120 Cows’ Are you kiding Lakes state.Most of girls and women in some states in south are propeties of their families and at the same time are victims of them. All famels in south need law to protect them other wise you will hear the same stroy again and again.Now she killed heself, what is next? This is shamefull on us all southern.

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    • 23 October 2010 03:20, by kuol M. Deng

      Oduck Bol,

      I am seconding on your comments. Sure you are right,our culture treats women like properties. This girl killed because she did not like the old to be her husband, and she ought to be in her agegroup. A hundred twenty cows is valueless compared to her meaningful life. GoSS should ban on under age marriage, and stop polygamizing women too.

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    • 23 October 2010 08:16, by mayom maboung marek

      when a man from a good family came to village to ask for girl in marriage, it meant the family would all be safe, in today society people are in need to build career first. for this thing to stop, it is the task for all people Together to lobby for Social change not to force girls for early marriage.

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      • 23 October 2010 18:30, by Wal P Muoranyar Biet

        Now, where is the freedom we fought for? If she can not decide who to marry or what to do in her life, how free is she? Bad, bad, bad!

        Wal Peter Muoranyar Biet

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  • 23 October 2010 03:59, by Paul Ongee

    Regardless of age, the "culture of forced marriage" against the will of the bride is increasingly under threat. Dramatic change is essential because we’re gonna loose girls who are already adapting to the culture of modern marriage whereby mutual interest or agreement is the order of the day.

    In 1990 when we arrived in a place called Anyidi close to Bor town (Jonglei County), we found a marriage case was taken to local court to be decided. Two guys proposed to the same girl. Unfortunately, the father of the able-walking man had few cows and could not meet the number of cows demanded. But the father of the girl decided to marry her daughter to the disabled guy whose parent had enough cows and met the demand of the bride price. However, court ruled the case in favor of the parent of the bride. The issue now facing such traditional marriage is not only the question of "meeting the demand of bride price regardless of age but the latter and mutual interest matter most".

    It’s very unfortunate for this beautiful young school girl. May Almighty God rest her soul in internal peace. Amen.

    Paul Ongee
    Khartoum, Sudan

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    • 23 October 2010 06:06, by Young Nation

      I’m in total agreement with all girls of lakes State in general and those of Rumbek’s Hope and Resurrection Secondary School in particular. It is important to mention that, parents and relatives should really understand that the long term future of our girls is significant than rendering them away for short term benefits in form of doweries.

      However, this truth can never take roop without solid government action against early and forceful marriages not just in Lakes States but throughout the entire Southern regions. Therefore, the central government in Juba with all its branches throughout our states, payams, counties all the way to boma must take lead in abolishing premature marriages in our country.

      Young Nation is a citizen of Akon Buoi (Rumbek) living in Brisbane, Australia

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  • 23 October 2010 13:06, by Danisco

    you people must understand the importance of marriage and allow little girls take their decision alone cause that is their future and no body can stop them from making their future clear

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    • 23 October 2010 14:00, by Ghor

      Dear Reporter,

      That is good but you are also lust. You may want to lure some young girls in cloth of journalism.

      Yambio, South Sudan

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      • 23 October 2010 23:02, by DeltaBravo

        Iam not marriage,but this practice of force married got to be stop otherwise we killing our girls. Let the girl chose the man of her dream, second they are not properties i hope there will be Law to stop parents from such practices.

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    • 24 October 2010 01:24, by kuol M. Deng

      Forcing a girl to marry a cowly rich man is getting outrageous! Survival on dowry is helpless now!

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      • 24 October 2010 14:48, by Chier Akueny

        Ghor,
        That is stupidity of you people in Lake State, how can you tell journalist explaining the matter that he is luring the young girls in his writings. I see you will never learn in this state unless other people from other states come and lead you for realities.

        You problem in Lake state is greediness otherwise you can’t continue forcing girls for you to eat when girls are not happy. Shame upon you all! You have learn if you make yourselves like monkeys or donkeys.

        I am sorry to get educated person like you writing to media the way you did it.

        Lake state is the only problem in South Sudan, as South Sudan become independent, you will back-warded the people of South Sudan for sure, and you should learn. If your greediness in finishing, it would have ready finished to allow girls alone to decide for themselves.

        I don’t respect people of Lake State because of their poor behaviours.

        SHAME ON YOU ALL.

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  • 24 October 2010 15:33, by Padiet Deng Alony

    You recieved 120 cows from your sister’s dowries and you go and get another girl from other family and it goes like that. is not good with one who has no sister or family with all boys. is not good to marry a girl by force it should be consent between two. I heard from alot of ladies that i want to finish ma eduacation but latter on end up with pregnancy with unresponsible person which is again other dependency to the family with her child, if am not mistaken within the families of Southern Sudan feeding their daughters plus thier grand-daughters/sons whom thier father are not known. most of the ladies if they are not concieved in primary they are concieved in secondary school, is that school they told thier fathers i doubt. then if they give birth again they told thier fathers that i want to go to school while her child is with father taking care of him/her and the father of that child is not responsible. except some few families are ok. Today parents are not focusing on dowries but how thier daughters will be marry by responsible person that will take care of thier beloved one and that is what every parent wishes to thier daughters to have a good family but dealing with teenagers need consultant at that stage. Is rarely happen for the same cohorts or age mates to marry them selves.

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