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Women and adolescents girls in the Upper East Region have been admonished to report people who abuse them sexually to the police for the laws to deal with them.

According to Detective King Edem Adzagbo, an officer at the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service, most cases of sexual abuse are perpetrated by family members; a situation, he said makes it difficult for the victims to report the abusers to the police due to the cultural settings of the region.

He continued that in some instances, interferences from political and community leaders stand as a challenge to appropriately deal with perpetrators to serve as deterrent to others.

He said “Almost all the opinion leaders are guilty; from the assembly men, the chiefs, religious leaders, to the political leaders; they will call you and plead. Even some of them will come to your house to persuade you to drop the case. When they try to persuade you through these means and they are not getting the results, they quickly go and gather some money for the victim and tell them [victim] to ignore the case. So, the investigator will follow up and might not get anything meaningful to prosecute.”

Detective Adzagbo made these comments during a community engagement organized by Société de Coopération pour le Développement International (SOCODEVI), for women in the Sapooro and Beo-Tankoo communities in the Bongo district of the Upper East Region.

The meeting brought together women who are mainly rice parboilers being supported by a project known as ‘Development Program for Inclusive and Sustainable Model Cooperatives (PROCED).

Facilitator for Cooperative and SOCODEVI Field School, Priscilla Alemya Anarekia, said the field school which engages the women and their spouses seeks to provide financial advice and how couples can live peaceful together.

Unfortunately, she regretted that, gender-based violence has been a major challenge affecting the livelihood activities of women, the purpose for which SOCODEVI has engaged the DOVVSU to sensitize the communities on the impact of gender-based violence.

“This is a Cooperative so women from Bolga, Bawku and Navrongo came together and form the cooperative. So, when a woman is given a target, maybe 30 bags of paddy rice to parboil and the woman has an issue with the husband, it reduces her productivity level. Even when you parboil and return home to meet beatings from your husband, you will have to use the small income to treat yourself. So, gender-based violence has an effect on the women and their activities.” Madam Priscilla explained.

As part of the community engagement program, participating women were also trained on the use of an improved oven that was said to be economically friendly.

According to Madam Priscilla, “This method uses groundnut shell, shea nut shell or sawdust which preserves the environment especially the forests from being depleted for firewood.”

The day engagement witnessed health workers sensitizing the women on the Covid-19 precautionary measures.

Source: A1Radioonline.com|101.1MHZ|Joshua Asaah|Ghana

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