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Regional News Thu, 13 May 2004

Domestic Violence Bill will lead to broken homes - Northern women

Tamale, May 13, GNA - Some Muslim women in the Northern Region at a forum on the Domestic Violence Bill in Tamale on Wednesday threatened to protest against the bill being passed into law saying that it is against the principles of Islam.

They said the bill would create disrespect in Muslim families because it sought to give more powers to women than men.

They said passing the bill into law would not change violence against women and called for intensive public education against violence to enable both men and women to know their rights and responsibilities. They contended that the bill also had the potential of leading to broken homes among spouses, as well as engendering unruly behaviour among children towards their parents.

Traditional rulers, civil society organisations, including women's associations, officials of government departments, NGOs and the security agencies, attended the forum.

The forum was to solicit views from stakeholders on the Bill, which sought to adopt non-violent means of resolving inter-gender and spousal relations misunderstanding, and to prescribe appropriate sanctions and remedies for perpetrators and victims respectively.

Some of the women suggested the establishment of structures at the local level, such as safe homes for victims of domestic violence since in most cases, women who were battered by their husbands were not welcomed in their fathers' homes.

They also called on traditional rulers and the government to look critically into the dowry system saying the practice in some parts of the country had made some men to enslave women. 13 May 04

Source: GNA