The Founder and CEO of Global Media Foundation, Raphael Godlove Ahenu urged the students to report people especially teachers who abused them sexually 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.
Mr. Ahenu was addressing this year’s Girls Summit, as part of activities to end this year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign at Duayaw-Nkwanta in the Ahafo region of Ghana.
The summit was attended by over 85 students and teachers of Junior High Schools in the Tano North Municipality which was the 2020 global theme: “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!”
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.
Mr Ahenu noted that, Ghanaian women face a lot of barriers in reporting gender-based violence. These obstacles, he said are rooted in a cultural belief that domestic and sexual violence is a private matter that should be addressed outside of the criminal justice system
He revealed that his outfit will collaborate with the media and communities to scale up public awareness campaigns on sexual and gender-based violence, particularly targeting men and boys.
The Gender Coordinator of GLOMEF, Christiana Korankye, in her presentation revealed that in Ghanaian, studies have found that about 14 percent of schoolgirls are victims of sexual abuse and 52 percent have experienced gender-based violence.
A public health report, she said, further showed that 33 to 37 percent of women in Ghana have experienced intimate partner violence in the course of their relationship (this includes physical, sexual, and emotional violence).
Mis Korankye was with the view that violence against women and girls particularly domestic violence has escalated around the world due to COVID-19.
“The COVID-19 has worsened key risk factors for violence against women and girls such as food shortages, unemployment, insecurity economy and school closures” she asserted.
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.
On roadmap to ending SGBV, Mis Korankye stressed the need for society to create safe ways for women and girls to seek support without alerting their abusers.
She called on Chiefs, traditional authorities and religious leaders to put in place systems to enhance monitoring and prosecution of abusers.
The Gender Coordinator advised girls to avoid being alone with people they do not know or trust and should stay away from deserted places.
She further urged girls to desist from deliberately flirting on opposite sex and avoid the drinking of alcohol and accepting drinks from strangers.
Miss Korankye took the participants through gender-based violence and how as girls they can defend and protect themselves sex abuse and violence.