The Women’s Initiative for Self-Empowerment (WISE), a non-profit organisation, has called on media practitioners to be more gender-responsive to issues of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in society.
Madam Adwoa Bame, the Executive Director of WISE, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, said the media served as a vehicle in educating the public on issues and tasked them to prioritise sexual and gender-based concerns.
“The media is speaking to the issues; reporting on domestic violence, creating platforms for discussions, but the challenge sometimes with the media is how some of these issues are reported.
“Sometimes even when they are interviewing an individual, some of the questions they ask do not give room for the right public education; so if the questions are not gender-responsive they will not be able to put gender-responsive information out there, therefore it is important to understand the issues,” she said.
Madam Bame was speaking on the sidelines of a sensitisation programme organised for media practitioners on sexual and gender-based violence, organised by WISE in collaboration with Women’s Voice and Leadership in Ghana (WVL-Ghana).
The event was on the theme: “Building A Gender Responsive Media to Enhance Public Education on SGBV”.
Madam Bame said gender-based violence had different effects on women, children, men and society as a whole.
Effects on women include isolation, fear, anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, emotional problems; while the effects on children are illnesses, increased fears, anger, injuries, repetition of abusive behaviour during childhood and adulthood, and poor performance in school.
She said the effects on men were increased belief that power and control were achieved by violence and an increase in violent behaviour.
The effects on society are is an increase in crime, leading to an increase in police, legal and counselling costs as well as the continued cycle of violence, she stated.
Madam Bame warned against accepting gender-based violence as a norm and underscored the need to name and shame perpetrators who were involved in the act.
The Executive Director, who encouraged women to believe in their God-given abilities, asked the public not to stigmatise victims or survivors because that could deter them from reporting.