Mrs Jocelyn Adii, the Bono Regional Director of the Department of Gender, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, has called for a strengthened community system to stem the growing Sexual Gender-based Violence (SGBV) and new HIV infections in the country.
The SGBV, she explained, remained inimical to the growth and development of women and girls, saying victims went through serious emotional trauma that left immemoriable scar in their minds, extremely difficult for them to recover from such ordeals.
Mrs Adii, therefore, underscored the importance to build the capacities of community and opinion leaders to well position them to easily identify and support victims going through SGBV to gain their freedom.
“With strengthened community systems, the country could also control new HIV infections and Tuberculosis spread too,” she added.
The Gender Ministry in collaboration with the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG) organised the workshop that sought to strengthen the capacities of community and traditional leaders, Assembly members and youth associations to handle and prevent SGBV in local communities.
It was also attended by leaders of religious and faith-based organizations drawn from the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo Regions, who were taken through the driving causes of child marriage and SGBV in local communities.
Mrs Adii said the proper upbringing and development of girls remained shared and collective responsibility, and advised people to be watchful and help tackle the SGBV in a more proactive manner.
“SGBV is very common at the community level and we can all contribute to end the heinous practice if we remain watchful and sensitive enough.
“The signs are always glaring to see because the victims go through psychological problems, but until we get closer and engage them in conversation, we can’t help deliver them from such unending bondage,” she stated.
Mrs Adii said SGBV was also the worst form of human rights abuse and dignity, and called for a collaborative and decisive approach to tackle the menace.
The Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Beatrice Korsah, who is the Bono Regional Coordinator of the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU), said the Unit required community support to arrest and prosecute perpetrators.
She said SGBV remained a serious offence punishable by law under the Domestic Violence Act 732, 2007, and warned perpetrators to refrain from the practice.
Mr Eric Ohene-Djan, the CHAG Zonal Team Lead in-charge of Bono, Bono East, Ahafo, Ashanti and Oti regions, implored the public to also help in tackling discrimination and stigmatization against persons with chronic infections such as HIV and TB.