The Global Media Foundation (GLOMEF), a human rights and anti-corruption advocacy media organization has ended this year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign with a call on traditional leaders to desist from interfering with the law and shielding persons who sexually abuse young girls in society.
Addressing a Summit dubbed “School Girls Summit” with Students and teachers from Presbyterian Junior High School at Duayaw-Nkwanta in the Ahafo Region of Ghana, the Gender Coordinator of GLOMEF, Christiana Korankye revealed that about 14% of school girls are victims of sexual abuse and 52% have experienced gender-based violence.
She further revealed that a public health report shows that about 33 to 37% of women in Ghana have experienced intimate partner violence in the course of their relationship including physical, sexual and emotional violence.
Unfortunately, most of these women, Ms. Korankye noted face several barriers and lack the confidence in reporting the perpetrators of violence to appropriate institutions for actions to be taken.
She attributed their inability to report such incidence to the rampant interferences by most traditional leaders, and cultural beliefs that demystify domestic and sexual violence as minor issues that ought to be addressed outside the criminal justice system.
Ms. Korankye noted that violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence has escalated around the world due to COVID-19.
“COVID-19 has worsened key risk factors for violence against women and girls such as food shortages, unemployment, economic instability and school closures”.
On sexual abuse or rape, she said it is sad that globally, out of the 15 million girls aged 15-19 years who have experienced forced sex from boyfriends, partners and based on data from 30 countries, only 1% have ever sought for professional help.
Ms. Korankye stressed the need for society to create safe ways for women and girls who suffer gender-based violence to seek support without necessarily falling on their abusers.
The Gender Coordinator advised girls not to accept drinks from strangers, and also avoid being alone in confined places with people they do not know or trust.
She took the participants through gender-based violence and how as girls they can defend and protect themselves sex abuse and violence.
The Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GLOMEF, Mr. Raphael Godlove Ahenu urged the students to report any person who abuse them sexually or violently for the law to deal with them.
According to him, under the international human rights law, the Ghanaian government is obligated to address, prevent, investigate, and punish domestic violence perpetrators.
He said his outfit will collaborate with the media and communities to scale up public awareness campaigns on sexual and gender-based violence, particularly those targeted at men and boys.
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign that kicks off on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December which marks International Human Rights Day.
It was started by activists at the inaugural Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991 and continues to be coordinated each year by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership. It is used as an organizing strategy by individuals and organizations around the world to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.
The 2020 global celebration was on the theme: “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect”.