As part of the Homecoming Celebration of the Ghana Girl Guides Association (GGGA), the later on Friday, 29th June 2018 presented a public lecture at the GGGA Training Centre, Achimota on the theme, “97 years of empowerment and impact, SPEAK OUT! Sexual Violence”.
Guest speakers for the event included Ms Kafui Danku (an actress, a writer and an entrepreneur), Ms Ruth Quarshie (Miss Universe 2017), Mr David Adu Tutu (Centre for Juvenile Delinquency) and Mrs Maloni Assibi (Acting Director, Gender & Domestic Violence Secretariat), representing the Minister for Gender & Social Protection of Ghana.
The event began with a speech by Mrs Zakiya Abdul Wahab, the Chief Commissioner of Ghana Girl Guides Association, where she welcomed all guests and girl guides present and gave the purpose of the gathering. She officially launched the Ghana Girl Guides Association Homecoming which would be climaxed on Saturday, 20th October 2018; and elaborated the theme for the Homecoming as well as the objectives of the various Homecoming activities.
The public lecture focused on sexual violence and its adverse effects on girls and young women. The speakers in their speech encouraged girls to speak out and not be silent when they are harassed or abused sexually.
Ms Kafui Danku (an actress, a writer and an entrepreneur) narrating various real-life experiences and sharing her life story explained how some girls fall victims of sexual violence. In her speech, she stated that women birth the nation; however, most girls’ childhoods are being stolen from them because of sexual violence which has a long-term effect on them. She urged all parents and guardians to come together to make the environment a safe and better place to protect girls.
Ms Ruth Quarshie (Miss Universe 2017) in her speech made mention that sexual abuse causes depression in children which sometimes results in suicide. She iterated that parents, teachers, leaders, and friends should help victims by reporting violence cases to have abusers arrested and dealt with by the law. She added that sex education should be given to girls to help them identify when they are being abused as some of them may not even know they are being abused. She urged girls to speak out when they are abused so that their abusers would be dealt with.
Mr David Adu Tutu (Centre for Juvenile Delinquency) in his speech mentioned that there are many forms of sexual harassment but the commonest is rape and defilement; however, there are laws that would punish offenders. He mentioned other forms such as verbal sexual abuse, emotional abuse, etc. With reference to Article 12 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, he explained the fundamental human rights available to all. In his conclusion, he urged girls to speak out for the voiceless and report indecent assaults they encounter.
Mrs Maloni Assibi (Acting Director, Gender & Domestic Violence Secretariat), beginning her speech made mention that as part of their mandate as a ministry, they are working hard to curb domestic violence or gender-based violence. She stated that violence against women and girls is a global phenomenon cutting across societies and nations in different dimensions which has an adverse effect on the economic, educational and social impact on girls and women in the country. She added that one common trend of violence faced by women and girls have been sexual molestation by fathers, teachers, and most men due to their vulnerability. She added that the ministry has a policy to protect the interest of women and girls. She iterated that the solution to ending gender-based violence does not lie with the ministry alone but all, thus, entreats all including traditional authorities, leaders, teachers, parents, the media, etc. to act in their own small way. She concluded by saying we should work together towards the prevention of violence and keep watch over each other, help each other and be ready to “blow the whistle” as well as present evidence in case of violence to deal with perpetrators.
The event was attended by 25 schools across the country represented by 480 girls and over 70 young leaders, adult leaders and trefoil.
The event was sponsored by Sky Water, Onua FM & Daily Graphic.