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Gender activists call for stiffer punishment for offenders

Gender activists call for stiffer punishment for offenders

International Network to End Violence Against Women and Girls (INEVAWG) has called for Repoliticising gender-based violence in the country.

This is to ensure that, policies of State and non-state actors are influenced into addressing issues that will lead to effectively addressing gender-based violence.

A legal practitioner and gender-based activist, Mrs Bernice Sam said more convictions for perpetrators of gender-based violence (GBV) against women and girls are required in the country.

She said the low conviction rate of offenders of GBV in the country had contributed to a growing increase in cases of violence against women and girls.

The legal practitioner Mrs Sam made the remarks while addressing a national consultation forum to re-politicize violence against women and girls in Accra..

The event organised by INEVAWG is aimed at addressing inequality and violence against women and girls through a radical political approach.

The gender consultant noted that statistics indicated that a large number of reports received by Domestic Violence Units across the country revealed that most perpetrators of GBV were men.

Low conviction rate

According to her, the number of convictions that were secured for the cases that went to court was low compared to the number of reports that were made.

“Admittedly some of the cases travel beyond the end of the reporting cycle however, when you take the situation year-on-year, you will realise that the conviction rates are very low and it’s quite worrying,” she pointed out.

According to her, even though the Domestic Violence Units across the country and the Ministry of the Interior were doing a lot, more practical action ought to be done to deter others.

Intersectional approaches

Professor Akosua Darkwa, a sociologist at the University of Ghana – Legon, while speaking on the topic “Intersectional approaches to GBV”, noted that there was a need for a new approach to activism against GBV.

While pointing to the Ghanaian Demographic and Health Survey of 2008, she said women who had tertiary education were less likely to experience physical violence than women with low education.

Prof. Darkwa however indicated that, the fact that both women experienced the same violence, it was important not to disaggregate that some women were better than others.

She urged organisations to be mindful of the different ways in which socio-demographics affected one’s GBV lifestyle.

Generational bond

Dr. Amanda Odo, with the Centre for Gender Research, Advocacy and Documentation, University of Cape Coast, for her part, said to fight GBV, the younger generations needed to recognise by older generations.

According to her, if the older generations reach out to the younger ones with other relevant stakeholders to create awareness of GBV, it will eliminate of violence against women and girls.

Policy influence

The Projects Coordinator of WiLDAF-Ghana and a member of INEVAWG, Ms Gloria Kankam, said the aim of the exercise is to influence policy decisions and get state and non-state actors involved in the fights against violence against women and girls.

She, therefore, called on the government to be proactive in the laws governing sexual gender-based violence and ensure that victims and survivors of rape and defilement were provided free medical treatment.

The event was attended by Queen mothers, gender-based activists, lawyers and civil society organizations.

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