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Hope for Future Generations (HFFG), a Ghanaian NGO has called on government to be more committed in fighting violence against women and create equal opportunities for them.
Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today.
Saturday November 25, 2017 was the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
It also marked the beginning of the 16-Day International Campaign against gender-based violence which ends on International Human Rights Day (December 10). This symbolic link of violence against women and human rights emphasizes that such acts are a violence of human rights.
The Day was designed by the United Nations General Assembly to commemorate the brutal assassination of three political women activists on November 25, 1960 by dictatorship in the then Dominican Republic.
The campaign originated from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute sponsored by the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership in the USA in 1991.
This year’s campaign theme, “Leave no one behind: violence against women and girls”.
In a press statement issued on Saturday November 25, 2017 by HFFG and copied to the media indicated that the NGO is dedicated to promoting equal opportunities for women, children and young people hence wishes to remind the government and citizenry that even one incidence of sexual is one too many.
On this year’s campaign theme, HFFG is intended to launch community support platforms for women known as VAW Watchers Groups which would be started in some selected communities in the Western Region.
“These groups will be used to mobilise marginalized and socially excluded women and girls in and out the mining communities to Stand Out and Speak Out against any form of Gender-Based Violence”, the NGO explained.
According to HFFG, data obtained from the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service and hospitals across the country indicate that reported case of sexual violence crimes including domestic violence, rape, human trafficking, forced marriage and defilement are still on rampant in many communities in Ghana with women girls, children being the most affected.
“Our own study of media reports conducted this year indicates on at least on incidence of sexual violence is reported every week”, HFFG revealed.
To create awareness and intensify the campaign against violence of women and children, Hope for Future General (HFFG) will official commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on Tuesday November 28, 2017 at Nvuma in the Ellembelle District of the Western Region.
Find below the full statement
On the 19th of June this year, hope for future generations (hffg) and her partners including the Ghana refugee board, Palladium, and Wildaf issued a press statement alerting the government and people to pay close attention to the realisation that sexual violence is a serious problem in our society that requires urgent attention. We emphasized that giving urgent attention to issues of sexual violence will help save innocent lives. Perhaps it stakeholders heeded to our warnings, we could have prevented the recent case in the Assini North District of the Central Region, where a four-year old girl was allegedly defiled by a 17 year old boy. We take delight that following this most recent unfortunate incident, some media organizations and civil society organizations have joined our campaign to end all forms of sexual violence in Ghana.
As the world marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against women 2017, Hope for future generations, a Ghanaian NGO dedicated to promoting equal opportunities for women, children, and young people – wishes to remind the government and the citizenry that even one incidence of sexual violence is one too many.
Sadly, data obtained from the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service and hospitals across the country indicate that reported case of sexual violence crimes including domestic violence, rape, human trafficking, forced marriage, and defilement are still increasing in many communities across the country with women, girls and children being the most affected. Our own study of media reports conducted this year indicates on at least one incidence of sexual violence is reported every week.
However, there is no telling how many more of these crimes go unreported and how many victims are suffering silently as research indicates that Ghanaian women face barriers in reporting violence. These obstacles are rooted in a cultural belief that domestic and sexual violence is a private and a household matter that should be addressed outside of the criminal justice system. For instance, a public health report shows that 33 to 37% of women in Ghana have experienced intimate partner violence in the course of their relationship (this includes physical, sexual, and emotional violence whilst in Ghanaian schools, studies found that 14% of girls are victims of sexual abuse and 52 have experienced gender-based violence (BMC Public Health Journal, 2016). These numbers are likely understated, as girls tend not to report crimes for fear of reprisal.
In view of the barriers to justice discussed above and in line this year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign theme of “Leave no one behind: violence against women and girls”, HFFG intends to launch community support platforms for women known as VAW Watchers Groups starting in some selected communities in the Western Region. These groups will be used to mobilize marginalized and socially excluded women and girls in and around the mining communities to Stand Out and Speak Out against any form of Gender-Based Violence. They would also link these women and girls to social justice institutions such as DOVVSU, Social Welfare to ensure women and girls’ rights are projected. This intervention is part of our Golden Line Project funded by SIMAVI, Healthy Entrepreneurs, Solidaridad and in close collaboration with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
HFFG strongly believes that identifying and strengthening community structures including women leadership, victims of VAW and men who stands for women rights as Watchers will contribute to eliminating VAW in our society. This requires a paradigm shift from the current situation whereby in Ghana, the fight against Gender-Based violence is perceived to be solely dependent on the social justice institutions with little accountability expected from community members and leaders to bring perpetrators of those heinous crimes to block and this has contributed to perpetrators getting away with these crimes.
That notwithstanding, we still expect the police and judiciary to be up and doing.
Joan Koomson (Director of Programs)
Yaw Acheampong (HR Manager)
Source: Daniel Kaku
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