Violence against women and girls remains an impediment to the fulfillment of gender equality and the fundamental rights of women and girls in Ghana.
The practice continues to pose enormous health implications on victims and society at large.
Indigenes at New Edubiase in the Adansi South District of the Ashanti Region have been educated on the various forms of abuse meted to women, girls, and men alike.
The public sensitization program by SOS-GrEEn enlightened the residents on lawful channels through which they can seek redress when they fall victim to violence, including sexual abuse.
In 2020, the Police Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) revealed a total of 4,879 persons fell victim to various forms of violence in the country.
The cases ranged from assault, defilement, threat to harm, threat of death, offensive conduct, rape, and non-maintenance.
A forty-three-year-old trader at New Edubiase, Yaa Achiaa, like many of such persons, was assaulted by her divorced husband.
The mother of six disclosed she had to call it quit after the father of her first child abused her severally under the influence of alcohol.
“I divorced my previous husband because he assaulted me severally.
“Sometime back, he told me to prepare him some food but I didn’t because he hadn’t given me money to cook.
“He returned home drunk, and when he realized I didn’t cook for him he started punching me. So, I fled for my safety,” she said.
In a quest to promote gender equity and women and youth empowerment, officials of the Boosting Enterprise and Employment Opportunities (GrEEn) Project sensitized the public against violence.
The event, which was in collaboration with the United Nations Capital Development Fund, was in commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
Participants were equipped with relevant skills and knowledge needed for them to live their full potential without falling victim to any form of violence.
Training Team Lead for the SOS-GrEEn Project, Vincent Ohene Ntow, indicated that the event formed part of activities under the GrEEn in exposing residents to the various forms of violence and educating them on the available avenues to seek redress.
“We came here to educate the people and also let them understand that when they go through any form of abuse, there are avenues for them.
“Most of these people do not even know what they go through. Some of them deem it normal for their husbands to subject them to various forms of abuse.
“So, we sought to expose them to the forms of violence including physical, emotional, psychological, and sexual abuse,” he said.
The New Edubiase district like many other enclaves in the country often see issues of abuse being addressed by the local chieftaincy system, unfortunately, most of such cases have not seen the light of day.
District Director for the Adansi South Social Welfare, Matilda Achiaa Yeboah, indicated the state office has put in place measures to sensitize the public to report cases of violence to the office and not resort to local community solutions.
“It’s very difficult to know the number of violent cases in the district since most of the victims do not report them. They rather resort to home solutions.
“Sadly, these solutions are not effective to a larger extent. Sometimes, you’ll be at the office and people will report a case they originally referred to the palace for redress.
“An example is when a person defiles a child. They refer the case to the local authority for redress, but come back to the office after they’ve exhausted every means to demand justice for the victim,” she said.
Haruna Hussein Nkansah, who represented the District Chief Executive for Adansi South, admonished participants, especially the youth, to be cautious of people they keep in company.
He called on parents and stakeholders to support and contribute to the fight against violence.
“Negative peer pressure can have the most devastating consequences on your lives.
“This period of your life is right and ideal for building matured relationships, positive influences, and strong family tides.
“As a teenager, you’ll have a lot of nasty and exciting experiences, make your parents your best friends and share your secrets with them.
“Come out of your shelves, take up challenges and change the ways of your living and thinking to achieve greater feats,” he said.
Some participants say the event has been beneficial.
“I learnt, it’s not only the duty of a wife to carry out exhaustive house chores.
“Also, I’ve been adequately informed that reporting your husband or spouse for violence does not mean that, they will eventually be sent to prison,” Yaa Achiaa said.
Another participant indicated “as a man, you should not subject women to cruelty because they are women. We must love them as before.
Our children, irrespective of gender must be taken care of equally. My advice to older men who defile young girls is to desist from it”.