Sexual and gender based violence on the rise

Mankessim (C/R), Jan. 28, GNA – Mrs Dela Sowah, the Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, has expressed worry over the increasing rate of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) cases in the country.

Making reference to statistics from the Domestic Violence and Victims support Unit (DOVVSU), she said ‘It’s becoming too much. The number of people who go through it, especially the women and the girls, is becoming very alarming’.

Speaking at the opening of a workshop on ‘Ending Sexual and Gender Based Violence in Ghana’ for selected media practitioners from the Western and Central Regions at Mankessim in the Central Region, she said the Ministry was resolute to seek an end to such violence.

The statistics from the DOVVSU presented in the course of the workshop revealed that SGBV cases increased from 4,697 in 2010 to 7,572 in 2014 and out of a total of 34,887 cases recorded within the four year period, female victims were 30,333 while males were 4,554.

Mrs Sowah expressed worry that out of the cases that were sent to court for prosecution, the convictions rate was low.

‘These are all things that we’ll need your help as media people to help us bring the issue to the fore so that people will become more aware of it, know what their rights and responsibilities are and then help us to end the sexual and gender based violence’, she said.

The two day dialogue, second in the series of its kind for media practitioners across the country, forms part of a broader initiative between the sector ministry and DANIDA Ghana, with funding from the Denmark Government, towards ending SGBV in the country.

The initiative is to among others, enhance capacity of journalist and media practitioners to facilitate gender sensitive reporting and help in creating a behavioural change as well as stimulate discussions on SGBV on various media platforms.

Later in an interview with the press, Mrs Sowah said many people were ignorant about SGBV, some felt it was a family affair, coupled with the fact that most perpetrators were family close members or friends, people hardly report such issues.

‘But with your intervention and education, people will get to know that what they really go through is not a family affair but something that is criminal and must be made known to the right authorities,’ she said.

She urged media practitioners to encourage victims to report such cases for the law to take its course since many of them felt intimidated adding that the media should also stop downplaying reported cases which often created the impression that the victims were telling lies.

Ms Hilary Gbedemah, Ghana’s representative to the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), United Nations, took participants through the topic: ‘Understanding the content of sexual and gender based violence in Ghana’.

The lawyer and human right activist explained that SGBV aside physical effect also had economic, psychological and emotional implications and stressed the need for the press to recognise their role in the campaign and play it effectively.

Ms. Charity Binka, a Gender and Media Expert, Advocate and a lecturer, in a presentation on ‘the role of the media in eliminating SGBV in Ghana’, tasked media practitioners to avoid judgmental language and details of victims such as names and photos, when reporting on SGBV.

Mrs Thywill Eyra Kpe, the Central Regional Director of the Department of Gender, commended media practitioners for their collaboration with the ministry and urged them to intensify awareness creation on SBGV.


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