The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has embarked on a campaign towards empowering women at the Agbogbloshie Market to report sexual and gender-based violence to the appropriate authorities to bring the perpetrators to book.
Madam Selina Owusu, the National Programme Analyst on Gender, UNFPA Ghana, said the event was part of a series of activities to create awareness on Gender-Based Violence.
She said most women had suffered some form of sexual and gender-based violence, hence the need to educate them on those issues.
She said the UNFPA was concerned about the wellbeing of women and was working towards empowering them in every community to protect themselves from such abuses.
Madam Owusu said the Fund had been working continuously with the Kayayei (female head porters) in the markets on issues of child marriages and other violence they may suffer.
She said violence in any form was a criminal offence and the perpetrators ought to be brought to book.
“Today we also want to create the awareness of the fact that violence in all its form is criminal, the perpetrators have to be brought to book,” she said.
Madam Owusu said they had trained some of the Kayayei as peer educators to enable them to educate others on gender-based violence, child marriage, and sexual and reproductive health.
Inspector Lucy Adjei-Marfo, a representative of the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit, encouraged the women to report such cases to the Unit for the law to take its course.
She advised parents to observe their children closely to see if they showed signs of abuse such as difficulty in walking, bleeding, discharge, pain or soreness in their genitals, anus or mouth.
She also advised girls to be cautious in requesting for gifts from men and avoid meeting men alone, especially in their rooms, which could lead to being sexually violated.
The event was part of a 16-day of activism organised by the UNFPA on the theme: “Call it Out: End Sexual and Gender-Based Violence against Women and Girls Now!”