Victims’ revelations are often the best testament to violations against women. That is why advocates against Gender Based Violence want the voices of the victims to be amplified to give leverage to the issues and also garner support to bring an end to violence against women.
The United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA estimates that one in three women will experience physical or sexual abuse in her life time. This translates to 800 million women globally.
In Ghana despite several interventions undertaken by government, civil society, development partners and others, the problem persists.
In some societies it is normal for a woman or man to be violated. How can this be?
Looking at the scale of the problem, effects of Sexual and Gender Based Violence and Harmful Practices, its impact on society and the way forward. Gender Based Violence has become a global issue, simply for the fact that it occurs in every part of the world.
UNFPA says the number of women and girls affected is ”staggering”. Its report quotes the WHO ‘s data which reveals that one in three of every woman who experiences Gender Based Violence is often beaten, coerced into sex or abused.
Ironically the act is often perpetrated by a relative or a close family member Analysts contend that the impunity enjoyed by perpetrators and ”the fear generated by their actions” has a debilitating effect on the overall development on victims, especially girls.
Above all it takes a toll globally, stunting the contributions women and girls can make to international development, peace and progress. This is part of the reason why the UNFPA is supporting the Wife of Ghana’s Vice President Samira Bawumia, to advocate against Gender Based Violence.
At the launch of CoPASH, ”the Coalition of People Against Sexual and Gender Based Violence and Harmful Practices in Accra, Mrs, Bawumia stressed the importance for all to support to end Violence Against Women.
She added that it is not a source of pride for Ghana to be listed as one of the ”leading countries in Africa”, where Child Marriages are perpetrated.
Mrs. Bawumia said Ghana has adequate laws but laws alone cannot work, especially if the sanctions are not applied to serve as a deterrent to others. Head of the UN System in Ghana, Christine Evans- Klock noted that a review of the culture by ”knowing what is and what is not applicable”, is a longer term, cost effective, and a sustainable strategy to solving the issues around Gender Based Violence in Ghana.
Story by: Rebecca Ekpe