Mr Samuel Kyei Berko, the Executive Director of the Empowerment Institute, a capacity building organisation, has advised women and young ladies not to think twice about walking out of abusive relationships.
He said it was their right to say ‘No’ to staying in sexual and domestically violent relationships.
Mr Berko said this during a two-day empowerment workshop organised by the United States Embassy, in collaboration with Mobile Web Ghana, for Civil Society and Non-Governmental Organisations to deliberate on better ways to empower women and girls in handling sexual and domestic violence issues.
He asked females who suffered such violence to take the bold decisions and say a firm and audible ‘No’ to such inhumane treatments meted out to them by society, especially men.
“Feel that you have the right to say no and once you have, don’t stay around waiting to be persuaded to change your mind. Make a definite step by changing the subject and walking away,” he said.
Speaking on “Self-confidence and Self-esteem,” Mr Berko said being assertive meant women should be aware of themselves, be true to themselves, build self-esteem, develop positive mind-sets and a can-do attitude, especially in decisions that affected their lives.
“A lot of work has gone on in the country to promote women’s rights but we still feel there’s a huge gap that needs to be covered,” he added.
Mr Berko said women were still not involved in leadership positions and decision-making processes, adding that many were also not economically empowered and well paid in their jobs.
He urged the Government to allocate more resources into state agencies that addressed issues of gender balance to enhance the execution of their duties.
In organisations, he said empowered women were needed to fight the competitive threat, make good use of advanced technology, and sell their products and services.
Ms Myra Michele Brown, the Regional Public Engagement Specialist of the United States Embassy, said strategies would be developed at the end of the workshop to help fight the menace.
She said even though the workshop was part of the Embassy’s way of commemorating the International Women’s Day, it had already spearheaded similar activities across the country to empower vulnerable women.
Ms Brown said some abused females were insulted and blamed when they narrated their ordeal and tagged as “bad girls” when they told their stories, however, they were made to understand that they were only victims and not “bad girls.”
She said sexual violence was terrible and could result in depression, drug and alcohol addiction.