Madam Irene Aborchie-Nyahe, Director, Legal Assistance Network- Ghana, has advised teens to speak out when experiencing any form of abuse or violence.
She said violence or abuse normally started gradually and that young adults should not be intimidated by threats of perpetrators but rather report the challenge to trusted persons.
Speaking at the “Discovery Teens Chat” programme on the topic: “Child Abuse and Violence, Identifying and Preventing Violence and abuse,” Madam Aborchie-Nyahe said perpetrators could be family members, friends, teachers, community or church members.
“When you say it you will not die, you will live to save yourself and the nation,” she said.
The event was organised by the “Discovery Teens Magazine.”
Madam Aborchie-Nyahe advised the teenagers to be careful of friends they made on social media platforms and pictures and videos they shared.
“Do not share naked pictures on social media platforms,” she warned, saying, the Domestic Violence Act, Cyber Security Act, Human Trafficking Act and the Children’s Act provided punishment for offenders and one could serve a prison term from one year to 15 years depending on the offense.
Madam Deborah Aikins, Assistant Director, Legal Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, asked teenagers to value their uniqueness and not allow peer pressure to drive them or weigh them down, instead, remain focused on their goals in life.
She advised parents to take a keen interest in the development of their children to give them the needed guidance to save them from negative situations or influences.
Mr Stephen Anti, a Broadcast Journalist, asked them to uphold good Christian values, which could shape their future positively.
In a panel discussion, Dr Gifty Clara Lamptey, Medical Doctor, Ridge Hospital, Accra, said the adolescent stage was between childhood and adulthood, which came with its challenges, adding that changes experienced by teens were normal and needed good management.
Dr Grace Buckman, Medical Director, Sonotec Medical and Diagnostic Centre, asked the teens to make education their highest priority and not allow anything to change their focus.
“Efforts put in your education will surely pay off,” she said.
Dr Sampson Asala, General Practitioner, Medifem Hospital, urged the youth to develop the confidence and sense of purpose to overcome all forms of peer pressure.
Reverend Dr Ernest Anim-Opare, Medical Doctor, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, said the temptation to enter into relationships with persons of the opposite sex for want of acceptance and love should be avoided.
“You are not ready for a relationship, you can have friends with whom you can grow together but don’t quickly create specific attachments and commitments to specific persons,” he said.
Mrs Mercy Adjabeng, Editor-In-Chief, Discovery Teen Magazine and host of the event, said the initiative was to highlight issues confronting adolescents, offer them a platform of support and make their challenges known to policymakers.
She called for support to enable her team to reach out to many teens through the “Discovery Teens Chat” programme and “Discovery Teens Magazine.”