An Advocate on Women and Children’s Rights, Marian Darlington Rockson, has cautioned parents not to disregard sexual triggering comments made by men to their daughters.
“It shouldn’t be okay for your parents when men pass certain comments about your daughters. Such comments could lure them into sexual abuse and it would continue if you don’t put a stop to it,” Mrs Rockson added.
Madam Rockson made the comment on Thursday at a Media Engagement on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), organized in Accra by the ‘Abuse Relief Corps’, a non-governmental organization that supports victims of trafficking and abuse.
A survey by the Organization on hundreds of high school girls in Accra revealed that 93 percent of respondents had experienced sexual harassment and most of them from their fathers, followed by their step-fathers, uncles and family acquaintances.
“It is unfortunate that some mothers choose to shield their husbands who sexually abuse their daughters and then settle the matters at home. This act must be brought to a halt as soon as possible.”
According to her, although SGBV-victims’ advocates, like her, were concerned about protecting the rights of victims adding that it was more difficult to do so if victims did not cooperate.
“If I see that what is happening to you is abuse and you the victim don’t see it as abuse, what can I do about it, what can the police do about it?
“It is difficult to prosecute sexual offences that don’t leave bruises, so if the victims don’t cooperate, then the fight becomes more challenging,” she bemoaned.
The Founder of Obaapa Development Foundation, Nanahemaa Adjoa Awindor, said the Foundation engaged under its empowerment project, out of the teenage mothers, 80 percent from the Ashanti and Volta Regions were sexually abused.
She noted that people, who abused girls sexually were those they felt they could trust, seek advice from and confide in.
“People have hurt others not only in their bodies but in their spirits to an extent that the victims no longer feel fit to be in the midst of human beings, and a lot needs to be done to bring them back to life,” she said.
Nanahemaa Awindor appealed to the media to enlighten society about the plight of women, girls and boys in their homes, communities and cottages and the need for it to be addressed with all urgency.
The Director of Anti Human Trafficking Unit, Ghana Police Service, Chief Superintendent Mike Baah, said no single institution could combat SGBV alone, hence the need for coordination among stakeholders to bring perpetrators to book and discourage the inhuman act.
He said people currently surfed the internet to watch sexual abuse videos of girls, therefore, they had established the “Child Protection Digital Forensic Lab” with the help of UNICEF to analyze such issues to enhance prosecution.
Mr Baah said sometimes victims of SGBV ignorantly got into a state of denial and felt sympathy for the rapists after prosecution though they were physically hurt, adding that it had, therefore, become necessary for stakeholders to enlighten them more on their sexual rights.
He appealed to private health facilities to freely give or subsidise the costs of treating victims of rape and defilement, as a Corporate Social Responsibility.
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