Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF-Ghana) has launched a Girls Empowerment Club (GEC) at Teshie in the Ledzokuku Krowor Municipal Assembly (LEKMA) to help reduce sexual violence in schools.
The project, being implemented in collaboration with Crossroads International, is to ensure that the rights and safety of the girl-child are adequately ensured in the country.
The theme: ?Inspiring Girls to Say No to Sexual Abuse and all forms of Abuses,? is to empower the girls in the community to claim their rights and stay in a safe environment.
Mrs Patricia Isabella Essel, Communications and Advocacy Manger of WILDAF-Ghana, said abuses metered out to children including defilement and rape were on the rise as reported by the media.
She said barriers such as ignorance and lack of access to legal resources had prevent these injustices from being exposed.
She said in many communities in Ghana, discussing sexual health, sexual relationships and sexual violence were still considered a taboo which, therefore, prevented the perpetrators to be punished accordingly.
Mrs Essel said statistics from the Domestic Violence and Victim and Support Unit indicated that the number of defilement cases reported had increased from 1,111 to 1,228 between 2012 and 2013.
In that same period, rape cases increased from 290 to 312 in 2013, 26 females suffered incest, 4,687 females were assaulted, 172 females suffered indecent assault, four females were murdered and 21 females were forced into marriage.
She, therefore, called on boys and men to actively get involved in eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls.
?let us all create a conducive environment for our girls both in school and at home to enable them to grow up to reach their potentials, and let us remember that an empowered girl is an asset to the world, ?she said.
Mr Yaw Fosu-Danquah, Director, Ghana Education Service, LEKMA, said society had not put proper measures in place making it difficult for these girls to report sexual abuses for fear of stigma.
He commended the officers and teachers for working hard to form an initiative like the GEC and encouraged the sponsors to bridge the gender gap in education.
Dr James Clayman, Gynecologist at LEKMA Hospital, said: ?I?m so passionate when it comes to women empowerment, because I believe every girl has a potential to become whatever she wants to become in life, that is why I always want to help the girl-child?.