At the age of 12, Innocent started her menstrual cycle, which she says was very painful. Her friends advised her to engage in sex as one of the ways to reduce the pain. “When I started my periods, I asked my mother for money to buy sanitary pads but she told me she didn’t have the money she did not offer me any advice,” says Innocent.
Helpless, scared and confused my friend of the same age advised me to get a boyfriend who can buy me sanitary pads to which I accepted with hope the hope that once I get a boyfriend, he would provide sanitary pads for me and I will be able to continue with my education.
"The boyfriend demanded sex in exchange for buying me sanitary pads to which I refused and I feared it so much. I started hiding and I never go back to class fearing boys and girls will laugh at me. One day he found me alone on my way home, he raped me. A month later, I realized I had missed my period. I told my mother who checked me and confirmed I was pregnant. My family decided to force me to marry the boy who raped me. My dream of becoming a doctor ended the day he raped me".
Our interventions this quarter focused on changing cultural norms through creating awareness about the dangers of child marriage and early pregnancy, Provide leadership and education for community members and leaders to influence positive policies around gender justice and human rights, Strengthen community based advocacy and activism around human rights and justice, Providing intervention, mediation, and support for young women and girls affected by child marriage; facilitating dialogues between community, families and leaders.
Moving forward, we need your help to continue providing opportunities and resources to women and girls. Please consider a year-end gift to our effort, ensuring the fight for equality, dignity, and justice continues.
You can support us to provide more young girls with sanitary pads at https://www.globalgiving.org/39549
To learn more visit.www.vacnetwork.org