Dn’t disregard sexual comments about your daughters

– Mrs Marian Darlington Rockson, an Advocate on Women and Children’s Rights, has cautioned parents to desist from disregarding sexual triggering comments passed by men about their daughters.

She also asked parents to be more concerned about the sexual relations of their daughters to protect them against sexual abuse.

Mrs Rockson said, “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.”

She made the comment on Thursday at a Media Engagement on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), organised in Accra by the ‘Abuse Relief Corps’, a non-governmental organisation that supports victims of trafficking and abuse.

A survey by the Organisation 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.

Mrs Rockson, a lawyer, said, “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.”

She said although SGBV-victims’ advocates, like her, were concerned about protecting the rights of victims, 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,” Mrs Rockson bemoaned.

She described sexual abuse as an abuse of power, adding: “I can and because I know I can as I’m stronger than you, I will do it” and entreated organisations to develop SGBV policies to protect their staffs’ sexual rights.

Nanahemaa Adjoa Awindor, the Founder of Obaapa Development Foundation, said out of the teenage mothers the Foundation engaged under its empowerment project, 80 per cent, which were 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, and described such acts of abuse as “craziness.”

“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.

Chief Superintendent Mike Baah, the Director of Anti Human Trafficking Unit, Ghana Police Service, 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 paid on 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 analyse 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.

Source: Ghana News Agency

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