THE increasing numbers of young women who are being forced to get married in Umzimkhulu has resulted in the formation of the Ikusasa Elihle Youth Club, a non-profit organisation established to assist and protect young women and teenage girls.Members of the organisation, Ntombifuthi Jwara, Zelda Mgandela, Londiwe Jwara and Siphokazi Ngcongo, established the organisation after a number of young girls have become the victims of abuse, forced marriages, rape and human trafficking in the area.The organisation’s chairperson, Anande Mgwetyana, said many young women are being forced to get married in exchange for cows or money without their consent and as a result they end up dropping out of school. She said most teenagers have become mothers because of early marriages. According to Mgwetyana, teenage girls should remain in school and be allowed to make their own decisions about the future. “Cases of arranged marriages mostly happen during the December holidays, when most men who work in big cities like Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban return home, and as result, the rights of young women are violated.“The organisation will make sure that young girls are protected by both men and parents,” she said. The Fever spoke to a 24-year-old woman who shared her story of staying in an unhappy marriage. “In 2013, I fell in love with a man who was later arrested and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for rape. His family and my family arranged lobola negotiations and I agreed to stay in the marriage so that my five-year-old child could grow up in a family,” she said.The man is still in prison. However, the woman now does not want to stay in the marriage because she cannot focus on her studies.She is now completing her matric and has ambitions for a brighter future. She has been receiving assistance from members of the Ikusasa Elihle Youth Club.Local stakeholders and members of the organisation will be marching from Clydesdale community hall to Umzimkhulu town today in a protest against rape, abuse, early marriages and human trafficking. Men were also asked to participate in the march.