Juba, February 16, 2019 (SSNA) — A South Sudan young woman was forced to drop out of school and went into hiding after her parents forced her to marry a man nearly twice her age, the VOA reports.
The report says a woman who goes by the name Akuac Ring Ariik, a 20-year old, briefly met a man called Akok Koch met in 2017. The man then asked Akuach to be his girlfriend. The woman refused.
After she declined Akok proposal, the man then secretly approached the woman’s parents and proposed to them that he wanted to marry their daughter. Akuach says she was stunned after her parents demanded that he dropped out of school and that she Akok will be her husband. She describes the ordeal as “destructive” after she went into hiding.
“It is so destructive because now I am a school dropout, I am on a hide, there’s nothing like success anymore. My life is at risk, everything, my life, my education. My future is just at risk,” Akuach was quoted by the VOA as saying.
Forced marriage is still a common practice in South Sudan. Traditional, local, and national leaders began raising awareness about why it is important to ban forced marriage. It is documented by numerous child rights groups that many young girls are forced by their parents to get married only to end up without a good future due to lack of education.
South Sudan has the seventh highest prevalence rate of child marriage in the world, according to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).