The Gender Studies and Human Rights Documentation Centre (GSHRDC) has organised a three-day workshop in Cape Coast for 16 journalists selected across the country, on Gender-Based Violence to help end violence against women and children.
The training which opened on Monday sensitised the journalists on laws and conventions on the rights of women and children in a bid to empower journalists to write and report effectively on the subject.
It was funded by the Ford Foundation, an American-based social justice NGO, to also rekindle the role of the media in championing and protecting the rights of women.
It was on the theme: “Transforming gender social norms and ending violence against women and girls in rural communities.”
Mrs Esther Darko-Mensah, the Project Manager of the Centre and facilitator at the training, noted that the country had made some strides in the fight against domestic violence but still had significant work to do to mitigate the scourge.
“There are still a lot of people who abuse women and children. There are a lot of men butchering their spouses because of the fact that the laws are there but when it comes to its implementations and sanctions, we are not doing much,” she said.
She maintained that everyone was equal before the law and, therefore, men did not have the power or right to abuse their spouses and children merely because they considered themselves the head of the house.
Mrs Darko-Mensah pointed out that the Ghanaian culture, particularly the patriarchal system, which made husbands believe wives were their property, made the situation dire.
“A lot of people are also doing it because of ignorance but that is not an excuse in the law. For instance, if your wife or girlfriend does not cook, it does not mean you should beat the person up,” she stated.
She further cautioned that the laws on domestic violence went both ways and for which reason women who abused their partners or children could also be punished.
Mrs Darko-Mensah urged the media to intensify education on domestic violence through news stories, articles and programming, stressing that the role of the media was critical to ending the canker.
She was worried that many a time, incidents of violence against women and children were reported without follow ups on the sanctions meted out to the perpetrators.
“If you write a story on a murder or rape case, you should be able to follow up to report on what happened to the culprit.
“Some people just hear about it and they do not know where it ends. So, when they get to hear that when a man murdered his partner, he was imprisoned, it will serve as a deterrent to other people,” she emphasised.