The Gender Commission of the Graduate Students’ Association of Ghana (GRASAG) National Secretariat, joins the International Community this year to mark the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence which is observed on every 25th November to 10th December each year across the globe.
This campaign is marked every year by the UN Women in their quest to end all forms of violence against women and girls around the world. The campaign which started from the First Women’s Global Leadership Institute was coordinated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991. The theme for this year’s campaign is “Leave No One Behind: End Violence Against Women and Girls”.
The Gender Commission of GRASAG joins the campaign this year for the first time with special focus on Sexual Harassment which the Commission believes it’s the root cause of all forms of sexual violence in Ghana.
The Commission, which comprises GRASAG National Gender Commissioner and all GRASAG Women’s Commissioners of various member institutions identifies the following as the most common forms of sexual harassment Ghanaian women, men and girls face daily as they go about their activities. These include: touching of sensitive parts of a woman or girl without their knowledge, demanding sexual favors at workplace, using sexually directed messages or compliments, calling women with sweet names such as “Sweetie”, family relations or neighbors addressing little girls as their wives or girlfriends, non- verbal conduct of sexual nature among many others which happen daily in our societies.
We equally condemn the recent case of rape involving a 4-year old girl as a victim in the Assin Fosu Municipality of the Central Region of Ghana. We are calling on the State institutions handling the matter to ensure that justice is duly served and the perpetrators are punished according to the laws of the country. We hereby applaud the efforts and the role played by the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Honourable Otiko Afisah Djaba in demanding and ensuring justice for the victim and her family.
As we embark on this campaign, we are calling on relevant institutions to join us as we use our social media platforms to sensitize the youth on the nature, forms and effects of sexual harassment in our part of the world.
Additionally, the Commission is urging female celebrities especially those in creative arts industry (music and film) to help promote decency and professionalism in their line of business. It is important that they recognize their roles in shaping the lives of many young girls who aspire to be like them.
Finally, young ladies must also recognize that we now live in a global village, and as such we don’t have control over any sensitive personal information we put out on social media. Our integrity is at stake as individuals, hence we should be mindful of our actions, and be responsible for our actions and inactions towards human right issues.
Saadatu Lawal Harney
( Gender Commissioner, GRASAG)