Inerela+ Ghana, CHRAJ charge global religions to end domestic violence

Chraj Ghana Logo.png Logo of CHRAJ

Fri, 16 Apr 2021 Source: GNA

Inerela+ Ghana in collaboration with the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has encouraged all religious bodies and opinion leaders across the globe to support in eradicating domestic violence.

The encouragement was because of the increasing numbers of domestic and sexual and gender-based violence in Ghana and beyond, where most of the victims were women and girls especially within this period of COVID-19 and the influence religious bodies had on people.

Mrs Paulina L. Essel, the Deputy Chief Registrar, CHRAJ, speaking on the topic, “Domestic Violence and its Effects on Women and Children”, said verbal abuse was an abusive language used to degrade, embarrass or threaten the victims.

The abuser uses yelling, name-calling, blaming and shaming, coercion, and threats on the victim.

She gave the explanation on Thursday at a capacity-building workshop, organised by Inerela+ Ghana in Accra to enlighten and encourage religious leaders, opinion leaders, market women, and traditional leaders, among others to support victims of domestic violence and eliminate the misdemeanour.

She said perpetrators of domestic violence often maintained dominance over the victim with acts like monitoring phone calls, not allowing their freedom of choice in terms of clothing and hairstyles, not respecting visitation limitations, violation of restraining orders and breaking into partner’s house over suspicions.

There were times that people prevented their partners from working or choosing their own careers, sabotaged their jobs with excuses, stole from them, demanded that victims gave their paychecks to them and spent monies for necessities on non-essential items.

Mrs Essel explaining how physically abused victims could be identified said sometimes they might have frequent injuries, with the excuse of ‘accidents’, frequent miss work, school or social occasions without explanations, and dress in clothing designed to hide bruises or scars.

On the other hand, people who were likely to be victims of isolation might be restricted from seeing family and friends have limited access to money, credit cards or the family car.

Domestic violence, she said, had varied effects on victims, such as anxiety and depression, low self-esteem, loneliness, sleeplessness, eating disorders, heavy drinking, and personality disorders.

She encouraged societies to end cultural supports for violence and promote relationships that would end men’s violence against women.

The Very Reverend Christopher Atta-Cudjoe, Diocesan Guild Chaplain, speaking on “Gender-Based Violence from the Christian Perspective”, said gender-based violence started in the Bible, where Mary Magdalene was sidelined to be stoned to death when she was caught fornicating with a man.

He also referred to ‘2 Samuel: 13 1 – 22’, where Amnon son of David fell in love with Tamar, his sister and raped her.

Rev. Atta-Cudjoe said violence against women and girls was alarming and manifested itself in harmful cultural practices such as Female Genital Mutilation, early and forced marriages and widowhood rites among others.

He called on all and sundry to join the trail to educate and empower women and girls to fight for their rights and advised all to desist from stigmatizing victims of violence.

Madam Mercy Acquah-Hayford, the Country Coordinator of Inerela+ Ghana, encouraged the public to help to bring perpetrators of domestic violence to book.

She said women were sometimes the perpetrators themselves because they failed to report their abuses to the right authorities to demand justice.

Mr Cephas Essiful-Ansah, a Legal Officer, CHRAJ, bemoaned the saying that some women enjoyed being beaten by their spouses or partners, just to be pampered to feel loved.

“One day, he will hit you and that will be your last breath,” he cautioned.

He asked the participants to approach people they suspected to be going through emotional pains including; domestic and gender-based violence within their churches and communities and support them.

He appealed to churches to establish centres to support congregants who were victims of domestic violence.

Inerela+ Ghana is a non-governmental organisation or network of religious leaders living with HIV that empowers themselves and others to live positively and openly as agents of hope and change in and beyond their faith communities.

Source: GNA