The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) has launched a ‘16-day activism campaign against Gender-Based Violence’ to create awareness on the consequences of the act and the need to bring it to a halt.
The campaign was also a strong platform used to strengthen networking and partnerships with the aim of changing stereotyped mind-sets about women and girls in relation to gender-based violence in societies.
The campaign launched in Accra on Monday was on the theme: “Orange the World: Hear Me Too”, to create awareness that there were societies increasingly becoming unsafe as well as hidden voices that had been neglected for decades.
Madam Malonin Asibi, the Acting Executive Secretary of Domestic Violence Secretariat, MoGCSP, who launched the campaign, said Gender-Based Violence was one of the most heinous human rights violations that targeted women
and girls in all spheres of their lives.
She said it robbed women and girls of their dignity, rights, livelihoods and cuts short their dreams of great future that they envisaged for themselves and families.
The violations include child marriages, Female Genital Mutilation, preference given to boy-child education, discrimination in the distribution of resources and inhuman widowhood rights among others.
The consequences are huge, affecting not victims only, but the nation in its agenda for development.
Madam Asibi noted that the most worrying issue was the sexual exploitation and molestation of the Girl-Child which seemed to be on the increase.
“I believe that we have all heard voices of vulnerable women including those living with disabilities and the aged who are often tagged as witches, and the voices of vulnerable children on our streets who are often taken advantage of and sexually molested, forced into prostitution, trafficked, and leading to some becoming Child-Mothers”, she said.
“These voices could be those in our own homes, neighbourhoods, Churches, Schools and the nation as a whole”.
The Acting Executive Secretary therefore called on the public to join forces to fight against the menace, adding that “We all have a daunting task to get closer to these voices that need at least one listening ear”.
She emphasised: “Help give a listening ear to that voice out there and get their stories told. You may never know the relief and rehabilitation it can bring to such survivors”.
She expressed the Ministry’s gratitude to its development partners especially the UNFPA, UNICEF, UNDP as well as Plan International, ActionAid Ghana, and DfID.
Mr Niyi Ojuolape, the UNFPA Country Representative, Ghana said one out of every three women has suffered gender-based violence in her lifetime.
He therefore said such campaign should be organised for them to take actions to underline the issues and discuss them for solutions to be generated.
He said it was a collective responsibility for the whole continent and the world at large to fight against gender-based violence.
Ms Claire Anne-Dufay, UNICEF Representative, Ghana, said 94 per cent of children aged one to 14 experience one form of gender-based violence, adding that over 38 per cent of girls and women in Ghana had been sexually abused.
She said it was not necessary for girls or women abused sexually to pay for medical examination and urged the public to join the fight against the menace.