Compensating a Girl

Kadi_lokule
Posted December 13, 2019 from South Sudan

The sun was scorching hot and my feet were aching in my open flat shoes. I could barely walk after the one hour flight to the Eastern Equatoria region of my country South Sudan. It was the campaign week of the 16 days of activism against GBV. In town to oversee an event that used performig arts to sensitize the community on the negative effects of GBV, i was definitely anxious to be in the state that is notorious for violating the rights of women and girls.

On this particular day, i chose to visit a local organization that was dealing with GBV issues. The long dusty road to the office was a short trip. After exchanging pleasantries - the talk began. 

That day i was given first hand information on a practice that is being carried out called - Girl Child compensation! I had not really taken into heart the practice but heard of it in simplest forms - but the harrowing details i received from the ladies working in the grassroots village in Torit was a testament to the horrors they have witnessed. 

This particular story which was both engaging and unbelievable got me raging in anger too the point i lost energy and began to tear up. Feeling helpless is something i despise and this was one of the instances.

A young girl was at school one day when her paternal uncle came to the school to request the girl to be excused as there was a family emergency at home. The young girl was perplexed and her first thought was that maybe her father had passed away suddenly - she kept asking her aunt questions on the way, but it echoed back with no reposnse. When she arrived home, she was met with a huge gathering of relatives and strangers she had never seen. The all looked solemn or at least that's how she described the mood in the homestead. 

"There she is!" exclaimed one of her paternal uncles. It was her father's younger brother Her eyes darted around searching for her mother but she was nowhere to be seen.

"It is done!" another stranger clad in brown faded trousers and brown teeth to accompany it and an olden pink shirt concluded as she noticed from the corner of her eye. Next thing she felt was a hand yank her arm strongly as she was being led away from the house. She kept screaming what's wrong? what's going on? but no one responded. After all she was but a girl - young and unimportant. 

Little did she know that in a dispute between the two groups including her fathers relatives, a member of the opposing group lost their son and she was to be compensated in his place for her lifetime. 

The girl escaped and was taken to report the matter only to her horror find the same uncle who was part of the negotiation and agreement to use her as compensation seated at the station waiting to record her statement. He pretended to be concerned and claimed would take her home but immediately contacted her "new family" and handed her back to them. 

As i write this the girl is still in hiding in a safe house as she escaped once again and is being protected by this local organization as even the authorities are not an option since they can't do much. The original plan of this group was to relocate her to the capital city and put her in a school and educate her as far as they could. It is still a plan and they continue to find ways to protect this little girl. They can't fund her relocation or rehabilitation as they are short on funds and connections.

This is one of the many cases that are unheard because the society  is patriachial. This is one of the many instances where such cases are seen as irrelevant in the justice system as not much is done against such pratices which are considered fair and culturally accpetable. Knowing that the girls who are compensated live a life of misery and perpeutal confusion as they adopt to life with a strange new family that constantly refer to her a blood compensation for their lost loved one. She is constantly abused and used as a slave in the homestead of the "new family" and eventually gets married and spends all her adult life in this predicament.

 

Comments 44

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Felicitas Wung
Dec 13, 2019
Dec 13, 2019

Hey dear,
What a sad situation experienced by that young innocent girl. We pray that God should take control.
Have a nice day

Kadi_lokule
Dec 15, 2019
Dec 15, 2019

Thank you Felicitas - it is sad indeed

Felicitas Wung
Dec 16, 2019
Dec 16, 2019

You are welcome

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Dec 13, 2019
Dec 13, 2019

Hello, Kadi,

How horrific this is! I'm glad this girl was able to flee from the said negotiation. I hope unjust practices like this will end. Thank you for raising your voice on this issue, dear. Keep up the great work!

Kadi_lokule
Dec 15, 2019
Dec 15, 2019

Thanks Karen - it is unfortunately a reality that we can't escape from anytime soon.

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Dec 15, 2019
Dec 15, 2019

You're welcome, dear. I do hope there will be a woman leader who can create laws to stop these nonsense. Our girls deserve better.

Kadi_lokule
Dec 16, 2019
Dec 16, 2019

Yes our girls deserve so much better. Will keep you all posted.

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Dec 17, 2019
Dec 17, 2019

Yes, please. Thank you, dear.

Jill Langhus
Dec 13, 2019
Dec 13, 2019

Hi Kadi,

Wow! I'm at a loss. What I want to say would be too unprofessional for the forum:-( How do these practices keep going on?! No wonder you felt helpless. I would, too. Surely these practices aren't legal there? Or are you saying there is no way to prove it because when the men are questioned, they just deny it and pretend to be concerned? Thanks so much for spreading awareness on this issue. What are your suggestions for how to end this?

Kadi_lokule
Dec 15, 2019
Dec 15, 2019

Well they are not stipulated in any legal docs as illegal so it isn't mentioned. It is still seen as a customary law issue and is taken through customary practices which is legal in its right since someone has to pay for the loss of life of another - though the compensation is usually done in monetary terms in the city, in the village, setting it is done with a life.

My suggestions would be to continue raising awareness which in turn will be caught by women advocacy groups who wil in turn advocate to abolisht this kind of pratices once their voices are rasied loud enough for authroties to heed including traditional leaders and chiefs in villages. This may work relativey well since the issue on early girl child marriage is facing similar challenges but advocacy against it on its part prevailing because of the strong women advocates and organizations around plus global outcry.

Jill Langhus
Dec 16, 2019
Dec 16, 2019

Oh, wow:-(

Yes, that sounds like a good plan. I hope it happens sooner rather than later, though. Please keep us posted on any updates on this heinous custom. Thanks.

XX

Anita Shrestha
Dec 13, 2019
Dec 13, 2019

Thank you very much

Kadi_lokule
Dec 15, 2019
Dec 15, 2019

Thanks Anita for reading my post, i apppreciate it

Wusufor
Dec 13, 2019
Dec 13, 2019

Dear Kadi,
Oh mine, this is quite a story. This compensation thing, does it occur frequently in your country? Are the authorities aware of this happening? Or maybe it's done secretly?

I think one way or the other, perpetrators need to be exposed through livestream hidden cameras

It good to hear that the girl is in safe hands. Thanks for sharing dear.
Hope you are have a good weekend.
Take care
Lizzy

Kadi_lokule
Dec 15, 2019
Dec 15, 2019

It isn't happening secretly but women rights groups who defend girls are currently raising the issue and so the perpetrators are hiding though there isn't much defence in this regard from the society itself.

Wusufor
Dec 15, 2019
Dec 15, 2019

This is little consoling to hear :-) you all keep it up.

Leonora Le Saldo
Dec 14, 2019
Dec 14, 2019

My dear Sister,
I am reading this and in shock, this is the first time I have heard of 'Girl child compensation' and I too am feeling helpless. My prayer is that help will arise for this young girl. Keep writing my sister to bring light to stories like this one.
Your sister.

Kadi_lokule
Dec 15, 2019
Dec 15, 2019

Thanks Leonora - i appreciate that you took the time to read my post. We shall continue to bring this iisue up as long as there are platforms like World Pulse giving us a voice.

Sister Zeph
Dec 15, 2019
Dec 15, 2019

oh my dear, what a painful story of a young girl, this is so sad that when it comes to give rights to girls and women, men treat them as objects, but when it comes to save their lives or to save their honor they think only women have this power to do it for them and they are not eligible to sort out their issues by themselves. Our girls are being sacrificed everyday in the world for men , I do not know when it will come to an end

Kadi_lokule
Dec 15, 2019
Dec 15, 2019

You are very right Sister Zeph women and girls are treated as commodities and the end to this does not seem to come to and end anytime soon. Thank you for your powerful comment.

Marie Abanga
Dec 15, 2019
Dec 15, 2019

Dear Kadi,

What a story. I have heard of a similar practice maybe in India or somewhere else, but haven't read of it from someone who has witnessed it so . From the title, I almost thought it was a celebratory post. I was so mistaken.
Why in heavens are girls and mothers treated so mean in several corners of the world? Could any human being be born other than of a woman?
There is so so much we have to do to change all such evil practices and paradigms in our society.
Cheers

Kadi_lokule
Dec 15, 2019
Dec 15, 2019

It is a very devestating thing to know and live in the culture that practices it and still be hopeless to do anything about it. I still remain faithful to voicing this concern to all who care to listen and try to find an everlasting solution to this menace called patriachy.

ARREY- ECHI
Dec 15, 2019
Dec 15, 2019

Hmmmmm. Woman thy name is woe! The kind of customs which mitigate against women and girls just on the basis of their gender often leaves me feeling Meh!

I sincerely hope this organisation can get the necessary support to see this child through until she's big enough to fight for herself.

Kadi_lokule
Dec 16, 2019
Dec 16, 2019

Woe indeed! Getting moral support from well wishers exists but the other support means is quite the challenge. Thanks for your encouragement Arrey much appreciated.

lizzymark
Dec 15, 2019
Dec 15, 2019

Its great you raised your voice, its so sad a situation but thankful she backed out.we must never keep silent or shut our eyes to such evil. Thanks for shearing.

Kadi_lokule
Dec 16, 2019
Dec 16, 2019

I'm not planning on being silent at all. thanks sister lizzy. You are one voice out of the many who has heard - spread it as much as you can. much love

Fatima Abdulrazak
Dec 16, 2019
Dec 16, 2019

Wow. This was heart-breaking to read, the devastation of this young girls lives in the hands of cruel, heart-less men.

Kadi_lokule
Dec 16, 2019
Dec 16, 2019

Heartbreaking indeed. It is a story that is all too common in that particular part of the country. Thanks for taking the time to read this post.

Ekitah
Dec 16, 2019
Dec 16, 2019

Hi Kadi!
Too sad to hear this young girl went through this trauma. Just pray that organization protects her to the fullest. Thanks for sharing your story dear.

Kadi_lokule
Dec 16, 2019
Dec 16, 2019

Hi Ekitah,
The organization is a very resillient one as they get threatened for interfering in these matters. It is a little hard to determine a means to support them to ensure they continue their advocacy against negayive practices that girl children in the society face.

ANJ ANA
Dec 17, 2019
Dec 17, 2019

Dear Kadi,

Thank you for sharing the updates of your work. It's so sad that young girls and women are facing lots of exploitations and violence in the family and society and yet they are unheard. Thank you for standing with them and raising their voice. Keep your good work, my sister.
love and regard,
anjana

Kadi_lokule
Jan 16
Jan 16

Thank you Anj, it is through moving across the country that you get to hear these stories and but otherwise they are muffled up and impossible to realise that this is going on

Qurratulayn Khan
Dec 17, 2019
Dec 17, 2019

hello,
worst reality based picture of the world :(

Kadi_lokule
Jan 16
Jan 16

Always a girl is in the picture and it saddens me all the time.

Charity Birla
Dec 18, 2019
Dec 18, 2019

Certain stooge traditional practices has ruined some lives of innocent victims. We hope this practices end .

Kadi_lokule
Jan 16
Jan 16

For it to end my sister is quite a long journey but hopefully the more light is shed on it the more attention it gets and positve outcome in terms of reducing it to a stop

Tamarack Verrall
Dec 19, 2019
Dec 19, 2019

Dear Kadi,
Bringing this story to light is a start in creating wider awareness that this practice of girl child compensation is happening. As we become aware of the reality thanks to your witnessing and reporting, we can raise our collective voices exposing it for what it is, yes, another form of slavery, another method of violence against women and girls, another example of cruelty made acceptable. So thank you. By all of us creating an outcry we are closer to creating change. All countries should be held responsible for the cost of sheltering women and children until the violence stops. In the meantime I hope that we can form stronger funding circles for the critical services being set up for girls like this young girl, and for women facing the same. How good that you had made your way there and able to work against GBV in that community. It is sisters like you who are creating real change, even when the road seems so long.
In sisterhood,
Tam

Kadi_lokule
Jan 16
Jan 16

My dear sister Tamarack, your words of encouragement are real and i am very happy that you have taken yout time to read this story. You are right about these issues being raised and it bringing about change gradually which is my intent. Funding circles aren't very strong when it comes to interfering with traditional practices and many in our society are strong believers in the negative outcomes of this interferance and the consequences to them. Thank you regardless. Although there are stronger women groups who are pro-girls education and rights - it will be a while before a strong network is formed to address this issue critically.

Spiritedsoul
Dec 21, 2019
Dec 21, 2019

Hi,
Hugs. Such a terrible practice. Sending lots of good thoughts and love her, and also to you and others. I truly hope these practices and and people realise the error of their ways.
Hugs and love,
Jess.

Kadi_lokule
Jan 16
Jan 16

We are only hope that the next generation of mothers an father will be the ones to stop this as we are struggling to raise awareness about this abominable act. I sincerely hope to see the day when a prosecution is done in favor of the girls suffering this kind of plight.

Hugs to you too dear. I see you're from Australia - my sympathy goes out to your people on the loss during the fires.

Sabdio Roba
Jan 13
Jan 13

Ooooh no, this is so sad and horrific. May God protect girls from such acts and thank you for sharing.

Kadi_lokule
Jan 16
Jan 16

Thanks Sabdio for reading - appreciate your time to read this post.

Chidimma
Mar 17
Mar 17

This world is full of evil, barbaric act on innocent girls whose right is been trampled on. What a sad story. Is high time we take to our hills on awareness educating families why this act must be put to stop.
Thanks for sharing.

Paulina Nayra
May 01
May 01

This is very sad, Kadi. What does the law says about that in your country? Is it illegal or simply tolerated? There are several crimes violated in that case: child abuse, trafficking, slavery or bonded labor. This practice should stop. Are there existing initiatives to address this?
Good luck in your work Kadi. Please take care.
Hugggs.