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Gender advocacy group, Pepper Dem Ministries, has condemned the brutality meted out to a woman at a branch of Midland Savings and Loans in Accra by a police officer.
The group is therefore calling for sanctions against the police officer and compensation from the bank to the victim.
In a press release on Saturday, 21 July 2018, Pepper Dem Ministries said: “We unequivocally condemn the actions of the police man involved and also seek to register our disappointment in the staff and bystanders at the financial institution whose actions and inactions propelled the assault. We are calling on a nationwide action in committing to seeking justice for Patience.
“We have taken note of the statements by the institution, Midland Savings and Loans, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Gender and the Ghana Police Service assuring citizens of the arrest of the offending officer and their commitment to pursuing this matter till justice is served. We are hopeful that investigations will continue and will see the officer charged for his crimes and punished accordingly.
“We call on Midland Savings and Loans to take responsibility for this traumatic incident and work accordingly to compensate Madam Patience…”
The victim, Patience Safo, was ruthlessly assaulted by Frederick Amanor also known as Skalla, while holding a baby.
She had insisted on withdrawing a sum of GHS270 from the facility as her previous attempts to withdraw the money days back had failed due to a network challenge.
The officer who was servicing as a security at the financial institution was called to escort her out but ended up beating her in the process.
Below is the full statement:
PEPPER DEM MINISTRIES STATEMENT ON POLICE BRUTALITY INCIDENT AT SHIASHIE MIDLAND SAVINGS AND LOANS
Pepper Dem Ministries (PDM) condemns without reservation, all forms of violence and in particular, violence against women. Violence towards the vulnerable and by people in authority is completely unacceptable.
We have watched in horror the viral video that made the rounds on social media of an armed and uniformed police officer, Frederick Amanor, who assaulted an unarmed client of the institution, Madam Patience Osafo. This horrific incidence was meted out in the full glare of workers at the Shiahie branch of Midland Savings and Loans while the victim held on to her child.
We unequivocally condemn the actions of the police man involved and also seek to register our disappointment in the staff and bystanders at the financial institution whose actions and inactions propelled the assault. We are calling on a nationwide action in committing to seeking justice for Patience.
PDM maintains that gender-based violence is rampant and appears almost normalized in our system. Based on DOVSU’s 2015 report, 27% percent of women in Ghana reported having been victims of abuse: insults, threats, psychological, physical, and sexual. It is important to note, these are reported cases only. PDM will therefore like to draw connections with the issues we speak about and how it informs these crimes. We are also demanding the immediate attention of the bodies and agencies directly or indirectly linked to this case.
We have taken note of the statements by the institution, Midland Savings and Loans, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Gender and the Ghana Police Service assuring citizens of the arrest of the offending officer and their commitment to pursuing this matter till justice is served. We are hopeful that investigations will continue and will see the officer charged for his crimes and punished accordingly.
We call on Midland Savings and Loans to take responsibility for this traumatic incident and work accordingly to compensate Madam Patience Osafo for:
- INFLICTING BODILY HARM
- TRAUMA & ABUSE OF HER CHILD
- VIOLATION BY MIDLAND SAVINGS AND LOANS TO THEIR CONTRACT TO GIVE HER DEMANDS.
We strongly urge Midland to take the appropriate actions against their employees whose actions and inactions spurred on the abuse and put the life of their client and child in jeopardy.
Our main focus as a Gender advocacy group is to connect aspects of our socialization with larger socio-cultural issues and crimes such as these. With this Midland Savings issues, there are layers to the discussion.
Police brutality: There have been way too many cases where the police has breached the confines of their jurisdiction by acting as judge, jury and executioner. The recent robbery case in Asawaase where 7 men were gunned down by the police, adds on the heightened fear of the Ghana police service. It is indeed troubling that a police force meant to serve and protect all citizens and civilians has some of its members acting in direct opposition to its mandate. We would like to admonish the Ghana Police Service to desist from engaging in actions that constitute brutality and urge all servicemen to treat everyone with dignity, respect, and the highest levels of professionalism.
Police brutality is a systemic problem that feeds into the larger problem of gender-based violence against women. Our society in many ways raises boys in a manner that perpetuates toxic masculinity where men sadly learn that certain negative and troubling traits such as bullying behaviors and unbridled aggression are indicative of manhood and masculinity. There definitely was a gender dynamic in this particular case as the police officer capitalized on several layers of power and privilege.
In addition to the sexism evident in this incident, we would also like to point out its classist undertones where people considered to be lower income earners are often mistreated and robbed of their dignity.
White privilege in Ghana: Right here in our country we have seen way too many times how White foreigners receive better treatment at our commercial institutions. It is a fact, that had madam Patience Osafo been a foreigner, her case would have been dealt with differently by the Midland Savings and Loans company officials and by the police.
Idealized Victims: We seem to have a mental script of brutality and a checklist that constitutes what/who the ideal victim should be. The victim must be considered “the saint”. Whenever we learn of anyone who has suffered some form of violence, we compare the victim's experience to the idealized victim we perceive and decide whether the victim’s "credentials" match our script then we decide if the victim is worthy of sympathy. If not, we dismiss the experience and turn around to blame the victim for their experience. In this particular issue, there are so many factors that easily arouse our collective rage: the victim is a female, a nursing mother, lower economic status, has a lower educational status. Take for instance, Lydia Forson’s encounter with that security officer. Our reaction to that incident goes to show that it’s not always about principle, empathy, or standing up against what's wrong. People only seem to want to fight for people who fit into their mental script of an ideal victim; the ones considered "saints", those without "blemish", “most vulnerable” etc. Unfortunately, the “loud-mouthed” status quo-averse status-quo changing woman does not “qualify”. PDM will like to use this opportunity to urge society to take a few steps back and re-examine our approach to empathy and our motivations for speaking up and seeking justice for members of our society. If the only times we can stand up for people is when they are our definition of "faultless", then we should take a few steps back and re-examine our hypocrisy.
All acts of gender-based violence should be met with utmost rage and with seriousness. We admonish all Ghanaians not be selective in our outrage.
In the wake of the news, PDM joined forces with our allies all over the continent. The hashtag #Justice4BankMum was started hours before details of the case and the victim came out. We are maintain it and adding on #Justice4Patience to continue our efforts in seeking justice for her.
PDM will continue our efforts in sensitizing, educating and creating awareness on how entrenched mindsets inform crimes and unacceptable societal behaviours.
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