Despite the United Nation’s adoption of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women by the UN General Assembly in 1979, violence against women and girls has remained a pervasive problem worldwide.
As of today, 1 in 3 women and girls experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, most frequently by an intimate partner. Likewise issues of defilement, rape, physical assault, domestic violence, child marriage, among others, which constitutes violence against women and girls, is on ascendancy.
In view of this, the United Nation’s has set aside 16 days of activism against gender violence as part of efforts to harmonize the action against perpetuators of abuse against women and girls, spanning from 25th November, 2018 to 10th December, 2018.
Briefing the media in Accra on Wednesday 28th November, 2018, on the real situation on the ground as far as violence against women and girls is concerned, the Country Director of Plan Ghana, Mr. Solomon Tasfamariam, expressed the organization’s displeasure on how cases of perpetrators of domestic violence against women and girls are handled in the country.
According to the country Director, many are women and girls who suffered sexual abuse and other forms of abuse but never gets justice due them, thanks to the country’s legal system. He said, “Many perpetrators of these forms of cruel crime against women and girls are walking freely among us.”
He lamented that, these perpetrators are always let off the hooks and goes unpunished, thus women and girls continues to be abused in the country like nobodies business.
Mr. Solomon, indicated that, only 52% of women married or engaged in a union, could freely make their own decisions about sexual relations, contraceptive use and health care. However, 71% of all human trafficking victims worldwide were women and girls, whereas 3 out of 4 of these women and girls were also sexually exploited.
He strongly revealed that, violence against women has caused deaths in some circumstances, as well as incidents of acid baths leading to permanent incapacitation, among others.
Mr. Solomon further intimated that, domestic violence used to be the main issue when talking about abuse against women, but it’s now escalated to a more bigger problem to handle and it’s happening in all sort of places, underpinning happenings in churches by people who call themselves men of God, work places as bosses use their superiority to abuse their subjects at work, schools. In some cases, some fathers abusing their daughters sexually. “Why should this be so? He quizzed.
He further expatiated on the fact that, those who face sexual abuse goes through longer-term poor physical and mental health, higher risk of contracting HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, as well as restricted choices in terms of accessing education and jobs. The could also likely get lower levels of education, income and productivity.
These consequences, Mr. Solomon said, were not only life-changing for the women, but also for their families, communities and wider societies, as gender inequalities becomes entrenched.
He drew minds back on the happenings at Midland Savings and Loans incident where a woman was beaten to pulp by a police personnel who should’ve been protecting her from abuse rather inflicting injuries on her. “What would make a man treat a woman like that? We were all appalled by the situation in Kumasi when boys gang raped a lady and they had the guts to film it, and put out the video of that. What sort of upbringing are these children getting? Where are they learning such wicked acts from? He asked.
Another case he mentioned was the report by Atinka FM which aided a family to raise money to pay for the hospital bill of a 10 year old girl who was raped by a school mate’s relative who lived in the neighborhood on the 14th and 17th of July, 2015. He indicated, the girl has now become semi paralyzed and the family still need a sum of GHS12, 000 for her to undergo a surgery either in Ghana or India, as the Doctor’s diagnosis indicates that some tissues in her womb have been torn due to the cruel crime.
“Ghana has, in many ways, led the way with its pioneering legislation on domestic violence for example. The Domestic Violence Act 732, adopted by Parliament in 2007, outlines a comprehensive legal framework for the prevention of and protection against domestic violence and criminalizes various acts of physical and sexual violence, economic and psychological abuse, and intimidation in domestic relations. But the story should not end there.
“We as Girls Advocacy Alliance of Plan International Ghana, Ghana NGO coalition on the rights of the child and Defence for children International expect the government of Ghana and all existing legal systems to ensure that those who inflict these types of crime can be prosecuted. This will deter and ensure that no other women or girls fall under the same crime.
“We welcome the new minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection Hon. Cynthia Morrison to this very sensitive position. We are counting on her to use her office to strengthen various efforts at protecting women from gender based violence.
“We expect her to work with other ministers to help resource the security agencies, particularly, the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit of the Ghana Police Service, too took the lead role in helping stop violence against women, and work with the judiciary to ensure those who engage in such evil acts get the most severe of punishments to serve as a deterrent to others. We expect the Gender Ministry and Interior Minister to work together on this.
“We will expect that when it comes to budgetary provisions for the Gender Ministry, all the allocated monies should be given to them to be able to execute the programmes they plan to. Without resources, the protection of women will be a mirage,” He called.
The country Director however charged the Media in to exhibit their knowledge and ability in the capacity to investigate and bring out hidden causes and violations of rights of girls and women, draw the attention of government, stake holders and public to these abuses and call for redress.
In his remarks, Mr. Abubakari Adamu, the Child Protection and Advocacy Specialist of Plan Ghana, indicated that, there were over 1,300 domestic violence cases in the country awaiting court hearing.
According to him, day-in-day-out, domestic violence cases are happening, and they keep encouraging the public to report on it, yet the delays in giving justice to the victims, discourages the public from reporting cases of abuse as it should. Saying “It is very frustrating because we are urging people to report cases of abuse but when they report, they don’t see justice.”
Meanwhile, he encouraged the public to keep reporting, but to report every early enough to aid the police to get the necessary evidence that could fast track court proceedings.