Project Beneficiaries demand an end to GBV

Ending Gbv
Ending Gbv

Beneficiaries of the Power to Choose (P2C) project in the West Mamprusi Municipality of the North East Region have petitioned the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Hajia Lariba Zuweira Abudu, to take steps towards ending Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in the Municipality.

Mr Maurice Haruna, the P2C Project Officer, PARDA group, who read the petition, said that GBV – sexual harassment, rape, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, marital rape, defilement, Child Labour, child trafficking, early marriage, witchcraft allegations, and intimate partner violence – were harmful to the holistic development of the survivors.

It said these acts of violence deprived the survivors of their childhood, interfered with their education, and were mentally, physically, socially and morally harmful to them.

“These violence result in negative effects such as teenage pregnancy, school drop-outs, sexually transmitted diseases and infections and the general well-being of the survivors,” they said.

The presentation of the petition to the Minister was preceded by a float on some principal streets of Walewale to raise awareness of the harmful effects of GBV and the need for all hands to be on deck to end the menace.

They subsequently held a video screening in Walewale on a real-life story of a survivor of GBV to educate the people on the effects of GBV and the need for them to desist from dishing out such violent acts on people.

Those activities, organised by the Participatory Action for Rural Development Alternatives (PARDA) with funding support from Oxfam Canada through Oxfam in Ghana, formed part of the commemoration of the 16 Days of Activism against GBV on the theme: “Invest to Prevent Violence against Women and Girls”.

The petition observed that between January 2022 and November 2023, about 15 cases of rape, defilement and gender abuse within the municipality were reported to the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) with only three of those cases presented to the court while many of them went unreported.

“Some of these cases were reported to the Police for redress. However, there have been instances where some cases are wrapped under what we may describe as “perceived family and cultural protection of dignity” at the peril of the children and adolescents.

Sexual harassment and sexual abuse against young and adolescent girls among other forms of abuse in the West Mamprusi Municipality must stop and must stop now”, portions of the petition read.

The petition recommended that the MGCSP embark on rigorous public education on the effects of GBV and strengthen state institutions responsible for handling issues of GBV.

It also called on the minister, who is also the Member of Parliament for Walewale, to facilitate the provision of free medical and safe shelters for survivors of GBV by the Municipal Authorities.

“They (shelters) contribute significantly to the overall effort to combat GBV and provide a pathway for survivors to reclaim their lives and autonomy.

The absence of this vital infrastructure is a big obstacle to the psychological development of survivors of GBV,” the petition added.

Mr Issahaku Aremiyaw Somo Lucky Basintale, the West Mamprusi Municipal Chief Executive, received the petition on behalf of the Minister and assured the group that their demands would be addressed in due time.

He commended PARDA and OXFAM for raising awareness on the issue of GBV in the municipality, which needed urgent attention.

Madam Rhoda R. Zakari, the West Mamprusi Municipal Girl Education Officer, observed that the issue of GBV was alarming in the municipality and that the activities of PARDA and OXFAM would help reduce it if not end it entirely.

She appealed to the traditional leaders and other influential people in society to desist from interfering in cases of GBV for perpetrators to be punished to serve as a deterrent for others.

Madam Zakari also encouraged girls not to be deterred by the threat of death and beating and to speak out anytime they were abused so that they could get justice.

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