The Department of Gender in the Upper-West Region, says stakeholders are aware of the existence of gender-based violence in the communities, but give little attention to it because the victims are mostly girls and women.
It noted that gender-based violence against women, had been deepened with some support from the cultural systems in the region, where women were not to be heard hence they were maimed and made to suffer in silence.
Madam Charity Batuuri, Progamme Officer of Department of Gender made the observation at a day?s stakeholders meeting on Gender-based Violence held in Wa.
She said, many girls as their mothers, faced inequality, injustice and deprivation and were also restricted by gender discrimination, poverty, illiteracy, poor nutrition and health care.
?Violence and fear are facts of daily life for some women and girls in the region,? she said.
Madam Batuuri noted that for some young girls, motherhood comes early before their bodies are matured, and able to bear children without harm, while others are denied education as a result of gender-based violence.
She urged the stakeholders to fashion effective measures to tackle social injustice against women, saying: ?education is key, not only as catalyst in escaping poverty, but as a tool geared at promoting a functional society.?
Madam Batuuri expressed regret that many women in the region were still ignorant about violence against them, and since they did not know their rights, they accepted it and saw it as normal no matter the gravity of the violence.
?It is painful because of cultural and traditional reasons, women dare not discuss their ordeal with people and some deaths are due to violence? she said, and urged stakeholders to deliberate on the issues for a total eradication of gender-based violence in the region.
The Department of Gender Programme Officer, pointed out that it was obvious that women and girls were often taken advantage of by society at large, forcing them to adhere to some forms of negative practices, such as puberty rites, forced marriages, marriage by abduction, widowhood rites and elopement, which served as some form of gender-based violence against them.
Madam Batuuri pointed out that women and girls have been marginalized; discriminated against, and tortured, despite the several roles they played in developmental processes and upkeep of the home.
She said the term gender-based violence describes a continuum of behaviours, ranging from verbal abuse, through treats, intimidation, manipulative behaviour, physical and assault to rape and even homicide.
According to her, majority of such violence and the most severe and chronic incidents were perpetuated by men against women and girls.
Madam Batuuri said gender-based violence produced unpleasant situations, such as broken homes, wayward children, and the spread of HIV/AIDS, since women could not negotiate for safe sex.
Women were also forced into marriage to older men who already had multiple sex partners, while widows were compelled to marry husbands’ brothers after the funeral rites.
Mr. Sebastian K. Ziem, an officer at the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), called on women to be forthcoming with gender-based violence-related complaints to the Commission, and not to shy away because of traditional and customary beliefs.
He mentioned violence from customary practices, such as cruel widowhood rights, banning women from their homes, and economic violence, such as withholding resources and refusing to provide money for the home, school fees and taking away incomes and earnings by partners, and said they were all gender-based violence-related offences which could be reported.
He also mentioned disgracing a person in public, threats, teasing, shouting at a person all the time, and making a women or a man feel like he or she is a child as some of the offences which can be reported to the Commission.