General News of Thursday, 27 February 2014
A 16-year-old girl who gave her name only as Irene says she has been in hiding for the past four years due to the threat of a forced marriage.
She told Maame Akua, host of Asempa FM’s Abrabo programme in a telephone interview from her hideout that, she was ordered at the age of 12 to marry his father’s age mate and friend in exchange for another young girl who married her brother, but she refused.
Irene said, she absconded from her supposed husband’s house at Yankazia to Zamashegu in the Gushegu District all in the Northern Region since her parents were not prepared to receive her back home
Fortunately, Irene got rescued by a Police Lance Corporal who took her into his home and gave her a new life, education and hope to live again.
The policeman gave her his surname, enrolled her into the same school as his children; she is currently in JHS two.
While expressing her bitter dislike for her parents’ behaviour, she asked for God’s blessing to prove to them that she was not a failure in life.
Another victim, 16 year old JHS two girl Joana, also told listeners of her suffering when she refused to obey her father’s order to marry an old man when she was 12 years old.
Joana said though she lives with both parents in the same house, her father has vowed not to care for her because he feels she has disgraced him.
She revealed that her elder, who went through the same ordeal, was later reported dead after she run away from the pressure to marry another of her father’s friends.
The Co-ordinator for International Christian Gospel Church (ICGC) at Gushegu District in the Northern Region, Pastor Paul Fusani, who confirmed these incidents on Abrabo, expressed concern at the rate at which forced marriages are destroying the life of girls in the Gushegu District.
Assistant Director for the Department of Social Welfare in the Greater Accra region, Mr. Dela Achiahor, who was also called onto the show said though they are aware of such incidents, they cannot act because they have not received any official report.
He said the Department with the help of Ministry of Gender and Social Protection is planning to put up shelters for girls who feel rejected at home for refusing to marry at tender.