The first time I heard of the fight against violence against women I was about 15 years old. Then the killing and butchering of women has become so rampant that women groups had to speak against it.
One of the groups I clearly remember is the Ark Foundation and I remember I wrote the name of the Foundation’s Executive Director somewhere behind my note book because I admired the passion with which she spoke against violence against women.
So many years down the line, this issue of violence against women keeps surging; the number of women who are assaulted in various ways on a daily basis is outrageous.
Now the minor verbal and physical assaults have actually graduated to murders.
It is amazing why a man can pour acid on a woman he claims to love because she threatened to leave him. It is preposterous to imagine a man chopping his partner into pieces because he found him with another man.
The reasons for which men hurt their partners, to us women have always been absurd. I am sure to the men it has always bothered on ego. “You have no idea how it feels to catch a woman you love with another man,” is one of the many excuses they give for their abusive acts.
For the many men out there who have been through such situations and chose to manage their anger and ego, SALUT! !!!
There are countless stories of women and girls who are being manhandled by their partners. Just the other day, a young Indian Medical student was raped to death; just last week, a young woman was burnt by her boyfriend because she threatened to leave him. The woman, Dora Dinyo died four days after the incident at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.
This was a woman who could not take anymore of the quarrels and insults she was being subjected to by her boyfriend for coming home late. On that fateful day of the incident, she had told her boyfriend she will pack out of the Kiosk they resided, the next morning because she could no longer endure the unbearable daily verbal abuse.
Disregarding the threats by her boyfriend who threatened to kill her if she makes an attempt to quit the relationship and move out, around 2am on that fateful morning, she set ablaze after petrol was poured all over her. The guy whose name was given as Bismarck died when his clothes caught fire in the process.
This is just one of the many horrific stories of violence inflicted on women daily.
Young girls on the other hand are constantly raped by their teachers, fathers, friend, colleagues and so on.
Even though I am yet to site some statistics on this, it is also surprising to hear the number of women who are abused by their lesbian partners.
According to Say No UniTE,
(a platform to end violence against women launched in 2009 by UN Women), 70 % of women experience sexual or physical violence from men in their lifetime. Majority of these men are either husbands, intimate partners or someone they know.
I am however of the opinion that in Ghana, Gender Advocates are doing their best but sadly, their best does not seem to be enough. Maybe the advocacy and education must be intensified.
Justice delivery also must be expedited in cases of violence against women. The attitudes by State Prosecutors and the Police in handling some of these cases leave much too be desired.
The infamous Amina assault case was later dismissed by the court for want of prosecution and the students set free even though the assault was captured on camera.
The outcome of the Benkum gang rape has still not been determined by the court after nine boys allegedly raped a 17-year-old female student at Benkum Senior High School in the Eastern Region.
Again these are just a few of the cases which have seen no determination in the court of law.
I am hoping with the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection will impress on the Attorney General’s Department to be more proactive in dealing with these matters.
Women on the other hand should be encouraged to report cases of abuse.
I am excited when the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit of the Ghana Police Service report that cases of Domestic Violent have increased. Why? Because in my opinion, it does not necessarily mean that the abuses have increased; it only means that awareness has increased and women have realized the need to report the acts so they can get help.
Starting today, let us all reach out to women and encourage them to know that it is not normal to stay in an abusive relationship. If a man threatens to harm you, do not ignore the verbal threat! Seek help!
For the men, this is the time to voice out what you feel. Talk about how you feel, feel free to seek help on how to handle women who are provocative and let some of the anger go. Suppressing emotions and unleashing it on a woman in the form of abuse or murder is never the way to go.
Us all; men and women alike have a responsibility to END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN!
Author: Betty Kankam-Boadu