Ms. Angelina Nagertey, the Akuapim South Director of the Department of Social Welfare and Community Development, has warned victims of marital abuse not to use their children as a reason to remain in violent relationships.
She stated that most victims of abuse, particularly women, abandon the process of finding justice during the final stages with the excuse that, “who will take care of my children?”
Ms Nargetey was speaking at the end of a pilot project on addressing issues of domestic and gender-based violence (DGBV) through women’s empowerment and advocacy in Ghana.
The project, which was implemented 12 months ago in the Akuapim South Municipality, was funded by the Karen Takacs Women’s Leadership Fund of the Crossroads International and initiated by the Human Rights Advocacy Centre (HRAC).
Ms. Nagertey said the redrawer of the victims’ right to find justice in court was one of the many challenges encountered by her outfit, adding, “This made our work very difficult.
“Women must learn to put their lives first because their children will be left to live with other women when they [the women] die.
Through a series of sensitization and training workshops of key stakeholders such as the traditional leaders, religious leaders, and some opinion leaders in the community on DGBV.
Ms. Selasi Tsegah, the Executive Director of HRAC, said about 31 cases of DGBV were received by the established gender desks in the municipality.
“HRAC established two reporting desks at the Women’s Alliance offices by providing them with two mobile phones with designated numbers to receive cases. The contact numbers were made known to relevant stakeholders during our capacity training workshops,”she said.
Again, social media was adopted as a tool to report DGBV cases and advocate against DGBV.
However, she indicated that the project overlooked the engagement of the visually, hearing, and speaking impaired in the municipality, saying, “We didn’t make room for them in all our workshops and advocacy platforms.”
She said the organisation would push further to bring up more projects to address the issues of DGBV in a more effective and efficient way.
Mr. Samuel Agbotsey, the Campaign and Fundraising Coordinator for Amnesty International Ghana, said there was a limit to what society could do in reporting cases of spousal victims.
“If the victim is legally of age and can make decisions on his or her own, then society has a little to do in reporting issues of abuse,” he said, adding, “Also, advice will be given, but if the victim refuses to listen, then society has nothing more to do.”
HRAC is a non-profit research and advocacy organization advancing and protecting human rights in Ghana.