On Joy News’ Newsfile on Saturday, the host, GJA Journalist of the Year 2020, Samson Lardy Anyenini dedicated the show to discuss the over 100,000 teenage pregnancies recorded in 2020. Empanelled for the discussion of the topic, ‘Confronting the darkness of gender violence’, were four resource persons; a doctor of medicine, sociologist, Police officer and a medical director.
Below are the five things we learned from the show.
- The 24-year old woman who has not had her menses since she was 13years
A contributor to the show via text message revealed the struggles of a 24-year old woman who was defiled when she was 13 years. The contributor, who gave his name as Dr Addo, said the woman got pregnant as a result but the pregnancy was aborted. Since her ordeal, she has never had her menstrual flow for more than 10 years.
She also collapses frequently, he said. The woman, he said, is in dire need of all forms of medical and non-medical support. Her parents are deceased, Dr Addo added.
2. Should we go back to the controversial matter of Comprehensive Sexuality Education? A sociologist thinks so.
A sociologist at the University of Ghana, Prof. Akosua Darkwah has asked for the introduction of the controversial subject of Comprehensive Sexuality Education as a panacea to the alarming levels of statutory rape and teenage pregnancies.
“We need to revisit Comprehensive Sexuality Education,” she said stating matter-of-factly, that “the sex is being had” by children and teens. She said children and teens need to know their bodies so they can make healthy choices regarding sex.
CSE is said to be a rights-based approach to sexuality education that emphasizes “values such as respect, inclusion, non-discrimination and equality” UNESCO has said. But when religious groups in Ghana found out about attempts to inculcate it into the education curriculum, they resisted it because of perceived elements of LGBT+ content in the study materials, something which the UN Population Fund in Ghana did not deny.
The President of the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council, Paul Yaw Frimpong-Manso castigated Comprehensive Sexuality Education as “Comprehensive Satanic Engagement.”
The National Coalition for Proper Human Sexual Rights and Family Values said while sex education is not bad, the brand contained in CSE was an affront to the country’s laws and cultural values.
But Prof. Akosua Darkwah, in view of the crisis of defilement in Ghana, believes “we need to revisit Comprehensive Sexuality Education.”
3. What happened to the Domestic Violence Fund?
Ghana passed the Domestic Violence Act in 2007 which set up a Domestic Violence Fund that ought to support victims access to justice, supply basic materials, provide shelter and help with the reintegration of the victims.
The Fund is to be managed by the Domestic Violence Secretariat. But The DV Fund has lacked resources severely. After some GH¢50,000 was put in it as seed money some 12 years ago, several reports suggest there has been no allocation to the Fund. “What is GH¢50,000 going to do?” Dr Akoto-Ampaw questioned the government’s commitment to resourcing the Fund.
4. So why do hospitals still charge victims of domestic violence before rendering crucial services?
When a person is sexually abused, the Hospitals Act says the victim is “entitled to free medical treatment from the state.” This treatment is crucial in aiding the prosecution to confirm medical evidence of the crime so that the perpetrators can be brought to justice.
But there are several media reports indicating that hospital administrators still charge victims before issuing a medical report, illegality that has worked against victims from poor backgrounds in trying to get justice for their abused daughters and sons.
“So why do hospitals do this?” Newsfile host, Samson Lardy Anyenini asked Prof. Appiagyei-Atua. He explained that by free treatment the law means in practice that government pays for it by providing the supplies needed to treat the victims. But government does not pay for it, leaving hospitals to charge fees to cover the cost of treatment,” he said.
“Government must put their monies where their mouth is,” he questioned the government’s commitment to tackling domestic violence.
5. Do you know DOVVSU has an ultra-modern “one-stop” centre for caring for domestic violence victims?
Apparently, the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit has an ultra-modern treatment centre in Accra with a shelter, juvenile cell, medical support including DNA testing facilities.
It was built with the support of the Australian High Commission, UNICEF, The Church of Latter-Day Saints. The facility is completed but it is yet to be commissioned.
6. Newsfile gets results
Yes. Some good news for the 24-year old woman who was defiled when she was 13 years and has since not had her menses.
The Ark Foundation and Vodafone Helpline Centre have indicated they are ready to offer support to the victim. Samson Lardy Anyenini revealed this during the discussions. So yes, Newsfile gets results.