In my backyard, men abduct, rape and marry school girls - activist

Domtila Chesang [Photo: Courtesy]

Domtila Chesang is a women’s rights crusader. She spoke about abduction of girls for marriage, and the fathers, brothers and uncles who are ‘partners-in-crime.’

Girl abductions for marriage are rampant in West Pokot County, yet we are in the 21st century…

Girl abduction is a practice that has returned from the past and it involves a man identifying a girl who he likes, but is convinced she won’t accept him. He then mobilizes fellow men in the abduction mission.

The abduction could also be because she is beautiful and many men are admiring her. It’s a short cut. Some abducted girls are taken to Uganda as most people living along the borders have dual citizenship.

I remember when I was a young about 10 years, my aunt who had come to stay with us was abducted by about five men who emerged from the bush and grabbed, carrying her shoulder high.

Later, the family of the man, now my uncle took dowry to the family of my aunt to formalize the marriage. A woman is guarded for weeks as she is repeatedly raped until she gives up fighting. The man’s friends ensure security is very tight both from inside and outside. Once a girl is pregnant she sees no point of going back home.

You are the first girl from your village to study up to university. How did you escape being abducted for marriage?
I am the first in my immediate village not the larger village. I was lucky to find myself in a very good boarding school at class four away from home. As a Christian, my mother was against all harmful cultural practices.

I was also so tiny, never showed the characteristics of a hardworking future wife.  I was more

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