Domestic violence on the increase nationwide
Mrs Faustina Boakye, Regional Gender Advisor of World Vision (WV) has said 109,784 cases of domestic violence were recorded in Accra alone within the past ten years.
She said the cases ranged from rape, violence against elderly women and accusations of witchcraft among others.
Mrs Boakye said this at a two day forum organized by WV on Gender based violence in Savelugu in the Savelugu/ Nanton district on Friday.
The forum was on the theme: “Engaging our leaders to eliminate impediments to empowerment of rural women and girls” and was attended by various stakeholders including traditional chiefs, assembly members and civil society organizations.
She said, one in every three women in Ghana was affected by domestic violence within the family, adding that, the country was experiencing wide spread gender violence including sexual harassment, trafficking for sexual exploitation, female genital mutilation, widowhood rites and elderly women being accused of witchcraft among others.
Mrs Boakye said, while the issue of witchcraft was not recognized in our legal system, it continues to be used against elderly women, some of whom have been enslaved in witches’ camps or have had their properties confiscated, tortured and beaten to death in some instances.
“Entrenched traditional and cultural beliefs in witchcraft and other social roles and designations against women have left women accused of witchcraft without justice, as the whole society affirms support for the accusers. Accusers and perpetrators go free without facing the law from state and traditional law”, Mrs Boakye said.
She said it was regretful that although Ghana was among the first countries of the United Nations to rectify the convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, with the passage of the domestic violence Act 2007, (Act 732), women continue to suffer all forms of violence against them.
ASP Emmanuel C. Holortu, Northern Regional Coordinator of DOVVSU, said gender based violence cases reported at the unit formed 85.97 percent of total cases recorded last year, adding that, this was a reduction by 1.53 percent of the previous year 2010 which recorded 87.5 percent.
He said, communities in the region were sparsely distributed with unmotorable roads and this made it difficult for victims of violence to seek police assistance.
He said for example, between Sang and Kpabia, communities within the Yendi Municipality, there was no police presence adding that, “this makes the cost of seeking justice more burdensome to the victim than living with the situation of abuse”.
He said the situation was made worse when after the victims out of desire to ensure their own survival and security report to the police, opinion leaders in the communities quickly intervene to seek traditional mediation rather than sending the cases to the courts.**