Madam Mercy Wilson Brown, the Volta/Oti Regional Coordinator, Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service, has appealed for media support to minimise or end all forms of sexual violence in society.
She said the Unit kept recording increasing cases of sexual abuse against women and children, especially with far-reaching consequences like unplanned pregnancies, school drop-out, sexually transmitted diseases and even deaths and that it was important for media collaboration to bring sanity into the system.
Madam Brown made the call at a sensitisation programme for media personnel from the Volta and Oti regions on international best practices for reporting on sexual and gender-based violence and harmful cultural practices.
She said the Unit could not do much without the support of the media adding that sexual abuse – defilement and rape – were not exclusive of other abuses and urged the media to give equal attention to the abuse of rights and freedoms during acts of defilement and rape.
Madam Brown urged them to educate the citizenry on provisions and prohibitions in the Constitution and the need to report perpetrators for justice.
She said perpetrators must not be shielded in return for compensation or any other reasons adding; “let us wake up to our affirmative duties to protect the Constitution.”
The programme, with funding support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), took participants through constitutional and legally provided sexual rights of persons, prohibitions and breaches, effects on sexual violence and legal implications for breaches.
The Reverend Samuel Akumah-Heart of the School of Ministry, Ho, described the programme as a “gospel that has been preached,” and called on media personnel to carry the message to the public and ensure their reports were more of corrective measures than instructive.
Mr Anthony Bells Kafui Kanyi, the Volta/Oti Regional Chairman of the Ghana Journalists Association, said the seminar had inspired participants to work closely with DOVVSU to minimise domestic violence in the country.