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Child marriages and gender-based violence.

On the run to safety

"I ran away to my parents' house, but my ex-husband followed me. He arrived with 12 men. They kidnapped me and took me to a forest where they physically attacked me until I was knocked unconscious"

Everlyn fled from death, from the cruelties suffered in ten years of forced marriage, a practice still widespread in her community. After being admitted to the hospital, she walked for three days through deserted paths under the blazing sun until she reached the centre of Tangulbei in Tiaty East sub-county, starving and exhausted.

In Tangulbei she came into contact with the Women's Network, a local partner organisation funded by ActionAid. There she learned in complete disbelief that all the violence she has suffered over the years was a violation of the human rights of her and hundreds of other women in her community.

My relatives and neighbours, especially women, were convinced that girls and women should not complain when they suffer any form of violence, including child marriage, female genital mutilation and physical violence from their husbands".

Thanks to the ActionAid project, Everlyn, the third child of a family of six children, has not only achieved economic empowerment, but she is now fully aware of her rights and actively campaigns for women's rights through the village’s savings and loan groups.

The 28-year-old speaks boldly about her traumatizing experience, but her bitterness is clearly visible on her face: she wonders why the cultural norms of her community subject women and girls to such cruelty. In her awareness campaigns, she has encouraged women to speak up and lobby the Government to enforce the policies and rules enshrined in the Constitution.

Everlyn is part of a network of more than 2,800 women in Tiaty East sub-county who are fighting for the protection of women and girls, through women's rights awareness campaigns, forums for girls and boys, training community members on agro-ecology, financial inclusion with savings and loan projects, lobbying the Government for the implementation of policies and the enactment of regulations for women's rights.

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