The Executive Director of African Women Lawyers Association (AWLA), Madam Edna Kuma, has urged parents and other community stakeholders to report every sexual incident involving male adults and girls under 16 years.
According to her, “sex with a minor, whether with or without the consent of the girl, is a criminal offence, and the perpetrator can be convicted to a term of imprisonment between five and 25 years”.
Madam Kuma said this during a series of sensitization workshops on sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) for stakeholders in Tanoso, Oforikrom, Attabuorso, Nsuta, Dentekrom, Chiranda, Jato-Akura, and Atta-Akura, which are some of the rural communities in the Techiman and Kintampo municipalities.
The stakeholder sensitizations were organized as part of the implementation of AWLA’s project titled: ‘Strengthening Communities against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV)’.
The project is supported by Oxfam Ghana, WiLDAF and the European Union.
Reacting to comments from participants, Madam Kuma stressed that “sexual cases must be reported even if the underaged girl is not a virgin in the opinion of the people, because the victim is a minor who cannot make a rationale decision about her sexual life or what is in her best interest.”
She added, “Reporting such cases will protect the girl, deter adults who sexually abuse girls, and reduce teenage pregnancy which has reached alarming levels and destroying the education and the future of victims as well as Ghana’s agenda for inclusive national development.”
Also speaking at the sensitization programmes, the Girl Child Education Coordinators for the Techiman South and Kintampo North Education Directorates, Mesdames Ellen White and Janet Adu Baah respectively, urged parents and community stakeholders to report issues affecting education of their daughters.
They also added that parents should get closer to their children, particularly, their daughters, so they can gain their trust.
This will also ensure that the girls open up on all issues bothering them.
This way, “you can pick all the signs, and intervene or seek the necessary support to avert potential sexual abuse cases,” they stressed.
Source: Cosmos Kwame Akorli, Project Manager/Consultant