Strategise to make your voice heard – women activists told

Accra, – The ActionAid Ghana, an International Charity organization has launched a report on gender-based violence with a call on women activists to strategise, make noise to get decision makers to hear them.

We need all on board, the raped, among others suffering psychologically need to be supported to give their best in the fight.

Mrs Jane Harriet Akweley Quaye, a Circuit Court Judge, who launched the report on Tuesday, said activism must be done by ensuring issues were brought to the fore and every sector tackled, where violence was perpetrated.

Domestic Violence (DV), she noted that it was a global phenomenon and that women’s human rights movements struggled to get laws protecting women into place.

She said though a number of laws were passed, they lacked implementation, adding that Ghana like other countries, had deficits in seeking redress for domestic violence survivors.

There was the need to address the traditional belief systems that hampered the implementation of the laws such as terming women as witches, seeing their status as lower than that of men, preventing them from going to school or expressing their views on decision-making, Mrs Quaye said.

She encouraged individuals and groups into gender-based issues to intensify their sensitisation, campaign and advocacy programmes to get more women empowered on how to tackle violence against them.

The Judge said the cracks identified by ActionAid during its days of activism would contribute to the existing literature on domestic violence.

Madam Sheila Minkah Premo, Chief Executive Officer of Apex Law Consult, Gender and Child Rights Consultant giving the overview of the report said the research was done jointly by ActionAid Ghana and ActionAid UK to highlight the barriers facing survivors, when they try to access justice.

It forms part of the global campaign to highlight the structural systematic nature of Violence Against Women and Girls and the justice deficit.

The Chief Executive Officer said the deficit was due to structural problems that continued to marginalise and oppress women and girls.

She said a qualitative study was developed through in-depth interviews with key stakeholders involved in the implementation of the DV Act.

Madam Premo said it revealed that one out of every three women in Ghana suffered some kind of violence and one out of five suffered some kind of psychological abuse.

Even though Ghana had one of the progressive domestic violence legislations, it did not realise access to justice for survivors because the Act was not implemented, the absence of free medical care, the DV Fund and the provision of shelters.

She said the lack of proper knowledge on the content of the Act was preventing survivors from getting effective support, for instance, applying for protection orders.

The report called on government to ratify the International Labour Orgnaisation’s (ILO’s) Convention 189 and 190, which recognise gender-based violence in the workplace and informal work as work and spaces where informal work took place as workplaces.

All workers should enjoy violence free working environment, reduce violence against women and survivors’ access to justice through well-resourced and sustainable DV Fund.

Mr Sumaila Abdul Rahman, Country Director for ActionAid Ghana, said it was impossible for survivors of violence to report crimes stressing that those who report such crimes achieve effective remedies for the violence.

Rooted to patriarchy, He said violence against women and girls was a proof for social control of women and girls, restricting their behaviour, preventing their participation in public lives and decision making and ensuring that men retained their position of power and control over the lives of women and girls.

Source: Ghana News Agency