Otiko; educate yourself; unlearn your misogynistic ways

Dear Otiko!
It was shocking to read portions of the speech you gave to the impressionable girls at the Krobo Girls Secondary School over the weekend. You took my breathe away when I saw you on TV saying girls are responsible for their rape if they wear short clothes with a big smile: “In conclusion, I want to say to you, be bold, be confident, and be respectful.

If you wear a short dress, it’s fashionable, but know that it can attract somebody who would want to rape or defile you. You must be responsible for the choices you make.” I cannot believe that Ghana’s Gender, Children and Social Protection would say something so ignorant, something so sexist and abominable.

To begin, Madam, really? Your best advice to a bunch of growing girls already under pressure to minimize themselves was to suggest to them that clothes attract rape? You couldn’t just tell them to study hard and remain “confident, bold and respectful.” You couldn’t tell them to report lecherous teachers, relatives and random men to school authorities.

You had to go and give that faux sex education advice. Who was it that told you at the Ministry that this was good counsel to give girls growing up in an environment where men feel entitled to their bodies? How can you so shamelessly resort to victim-blaming when Ghanaian newspapers and websites constantly report the rape of women as old as 70 and children as young as two by vile men?

Minister, I want to assume, that was your special uninformed way of telling women and girls to be safe because it is odd for Ghana’s Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection to be on the same side as rapists and other bad men who hide behind that tired excuse to violate women. Rape according to the dictionary and the laws of the land is any form of sexual penetration that occurs without the consent of one party.

It is the violation of women and girls always borne out of entitlement to our bodies. Certainly you can see that no correlation exists between the victim’s clothes and the actions of the rapist. Therefore, they lie, when they insist that women’s clothes move them to rape. Men are not goats incapable of self-control and respect for others that the mere sight of a woman’s skin renders them insane and rapey.

Madam, studies indicate that Ghanaian women between the ages of 10-18 years (the age group of the girls you spoke to) are most at risk of all forms sexual violence. Data from the Gender Centre also indicates that 27 percent of Ghanaian women have been sexually assaulted in their lifetime. 1 in 3 women had been fondled or touched against their will, and 2 in 10 women their first experience of sex was against their will. And many do not report these violations that leave them with lifelong trauma because of comments like yours.

Often victims are subjected to awful queries like “what were you doing in his room” and “what were you wearing,” suggesting that they’re somehow to blame for the actions of the rapist. Minister, your comment did exactly what rapists want, ignore their actions and place the burden of preventing rape on women. It serves no one than just perpetuates the rape culture, allowing rapists to get away with their crimes.

It is obvious from your response to Kennedy Agyapong’s sex for jobs attack on the Electoral Commissioner, Charlotte Osei and other comments that you’re completely out of step with evolving gender dynamics. Because the notion that women somehow contributes to rape no longer applies in polite society. Only the rapist is responsible for his actions. A Gender Minister who cares would know this. It’s not your fault, you didn’t appoint yourself. They were looking for a woman for the role and I’m sure they thought their National Women’s Organiser would be fitting.

As things stand right now, you’re imperfect for the role. You have no technical knowledge of the area and you have never been an advocate of gender rights. Consider your delayed response to the woman who was beaten, stripped naked and violated in Kumasi. I suspect you were working with the ‘what if she stole’ theory. We don’t live in a jungle, even if she stole, they built the courts and the prisons for crimes like. Consider again, your reckless comments about your colleagues’ supposed disability. Albinism isn’t a disability and that was an appalling way to speak about disabilities in our society.

Madam, I had been praying you succeed given the drama that came with your appointment.

Nothing would please the Minority Members of the Appointments Committee more than seeing you fail. And you will fail if you do not seek help with the sector. Like many of your colleagues, you would have to educate yourself because having “power doesn’t automatically mean that you have knowledge.”

Find people who have specialized in gender and children’s rights to educate you in the area. Just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you know what is required to transform the lives of Ghanaian women. You need to unlearn your internalized sexism and misogyny, study the changing ways the world seeks to treat women and get with the plan.

I’m serious about this. Sit down, stop talking, and study. The University of Ghana has a fabulous place where you can go for help, the Centre for Gender Studies and Advocacy. Go learn how you can help reduce rape using policy, enforcement of laws and other tools.

If you do nothing at all, find someone who is aware of the times to guide you in writing those speeches. And stop offending us, Ghanaian women each time you speak.

The woman with an agenda



  1. Hmmm. Nana Ama, as much as i agree with you in drawing the Minister’s attention to the ill-advised comments, i think you have also taking the matter too far and actually in your submissions, have been rather unruly, disrespectful and inconsiderate. She is a Minister for God sake and deserves some respect from you as much as you require her to be this knowledgeable. You have some very good ideas and suggestions but your way of putting it makes it rather unacceptable. Please remember the good old lesson from the Bible – Honour your father and your mother that thy days might be long on earth. This does not only apply to your biological mother or father, for indeed the Good Book also admonishes us to honour authorities and leaders. You can correct, guide, advise and re-direct our leaders…but certainly not in such a manner and tone. Am sure if you, in your profession, had sort audience with the Minister, she might have listened to you and learnt a think or two…please check it.

    • people like her do not even think God exists. Quoting her the bible sounds like noise in her ears.

      The World is at tipping point, they may soon be full blown Gender war – the strong will come to rule again. A society without leadership is anarchy and the deviation of some miscreants who do not want to be under discipline must ultimately be forced to do so or flushed out. There are so many problems to solve. Let those with destructive mentality be pushed aside. I detests all those characters who perhaps out of their own hurts or frustrations creates the impression that a certain group of people are bad. Men love their mothers and sisters more than even women do but those evil people who call themselves feminists are sent to cause destruction. If everybody is going to take gender position, definitely a certain gender is going to be subdued because one is stronger than the other and the fittest survives. I feel a gender war is looming. Our ears are suffocating with so much hate noise and we may not be able to contain it for too long.

  2. I believe you are one of the reason why our society is the way it is. Did the minister in her speech say that rape is good or that men are not to blame for such actions? I remember when I was learning to drive I was taught something called defensive driving, does that mean that I am being taught that other drivers driving recklessly are not to be blamed for their actions? What the honourable minister implied was for the girls to do whatever they can not to attract attention to themselves. Why do you protect your house securely from thieves and robbers? does that imply that those miscreants are not to be blamed for their actions? I am a man and I am not a rapist, but before a man can approach a woman he has to analyse if the woman will easily give in to his advances. A well dressed and decent girls hardly get preyed on by men just seeking sexual pleasures. I have a daughter and I always advise her on how she dresses and behaves, the bottomline is not to draw attention to yourself. and please learn how to criticise the action and not the personality. In this case I dont fault her, dont forget that those girls she spoke to are just teenagers, who think they have the world at their feet and want no correction. They have to be told the truth as it is, no need to sugar coat it. Rape is bad and one has to do whatever to ensure she doesnt become a victim.

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