Written by Staff Writer
We’re parents in southern Uganda and our eldest daughter is married. She knows her fertility is slowing down. We’ve still got the family in-laws to get along with. She’s ready to grow.
And then there’s her husband, who is from a pastoralist tribe. For many weeks before she was due to give birth to their first child, she confided in me.
This was before statistics on HIV put unplanned pregnancy and adoption in a spotlight.
She said that her husband had threatened to abuse her if she got pregnant again. He promised not to press for an abortion, but his way of appearing to be a Christian was to beat her with a stick or whack her with a hammer.
He neglected to say that he would pick up his eldest daughter, who doesn’t know how to read, from the village clinic. At about the same time, he asked her again about another baby. He’d promised her, even though the pregnancy is unplanned, that he wouldn’t resist.
Had he pulled out of the marriage, she would have no support. Were he to take her to court, she could face up to four years in prison. She would live, in her father’s house, as she became a wife.
The village clinic only provides free or low-cost morning sickness remedies.