Source:savannanews24.com/Hamza Lansah Lolly:
The Municipal Chief Executive for Savelugu, Hon Hajia Ayishetu Seidu has called for severe punishment against men who sexually abuse girls to deter many from violating the rights of the girl child.
According to her, though some culprits of sexual violence against women and girls are facing the full rigors of the law, however, some of the punishment are not deterrent enough to safeguard the girl child.
Hon Hajia Ayishetu who speaking at a program to mark this year’s International Day of the Girl Child, reiterated that, all forms of abuses and discrimination against the girl child are condemnable.
The theme for the 2018 International Day of the Girl Child is: “With Her: A Skilled Girl Force”, but locally dubbed “Empowering the girl child after sexual violence”.
The local event which was organized by Sister Diaries, an NGO in collaboration with the Savelugu Municipal Assembly brought together girls from various schools within the Municipality.
The International Day of the Girl Child is celebrated annually on 11th October. The main aims of the day are to promote girl’s empowerment and fulfillment of their human rights while also highlighting the challenges that girls all over the world face.
Each year’s International Day of the Girl has its own theme, past themes have included EmPower Girls: Before, During and After Crisis (2017) and Girls Progrees =Goals Progress: What Counts For Girls (2016). Launched in 2012 by the United Nations general assembly, amongst the issues focused on by the International Day of the Girl are education, equality, child marriage, access to services regarding puberty and sexual health and addressing issues around gender-based violence.
The Savelugu MCE at the launch held in the Savelugu girl’s model school noted that, the assembly as part its mandate to ensure equally opportunities for both boys and girls, has prioritized girl child education to bridge the gap between boys and girls in education accessibility and empowerment.
She noted that, the local theme “Empowering the girl child after sexual violence” is very appropriate and timely as there is the need to support victims of the sexual violence to speak out.
“The theme empowering the girl child after sexual violence is something that should be worrying to every parent and students ….it is a believe that women and girls should be treated the same as men not because men are better than women but because girls and women are also human being and they need to have the same human rights in any society (as men). We also have our human rights and must be respected as such. I agreed that women and girls are having their moral, economic and social rights ever than before but in the global level, woman and girls are suffering from inequality and basic human rights, we need women empowerment, girls empowerment because women have fewer opportunities … a few of our girls had the privileged to be in school, why must it be so?… our parent must give us the equal opportunity to compete with boys”. She said
She said, women still don’t have the decision making power over their bodies, adding that, land ownership rights, sexual rights, freedom from violence, access to education and maternal rights still persist against the woman thwarting the growth and development of the woman.
The MCE said, parents have the responsibility to support their girl child, “the girl child must be given the chance to be heard and speak out about the ordeal they went through after been sexually violated or assaulted.
“We sometimes ask victims of sexual violence to be quite and silent about their ordeal, but we must be bold as parents and allow our girl child to speak out…we should listen to their stories and take it from there…let them tell you their minds”.
Hajia Ayishetu entreated parents and guardians to teach their girl child about the body parts, saying that, in some Ghanaian communities it’s a taboo to mention the private parts. “Tell your child that, no one should a picture of her private part”.
The Savelugu MCE advised girls especially victims of sexual violence to speak out to enable their abusers to face harsher punishment in court.
She urged the girls to be inspire and take their education seriously and compete with boys in all aspects, adding that, billion girls of today’s world are challenging the status quo. They’re redefining girlhood, and they’re doing so against the odds.
Madam Diana Ngon, Regional Rep of Sisters Diary said, the day was to create awareness of the sexual violence against the girl child, saying that, the program was designed to inspire and encourage the girl child to be confident and speak out.
She noted that, it is important to empower young girls to be vocal especially when they come into contact sexual harassment, adding that, most girls who went through the ordeal of sexual violence are stigmatized, thus to need to motivate and inspire them to speak out.
Miss Diana hinted that, the girls as part of the celebration will be mentored to stand against all violence and speak out when abused.
Pupils of the Savelugu Girls model school recite poems to mark the day whiles some hold placards that read “End All Violence against Women”, Dear You, please believe us when we tell our abuse stories” “Sexual Abuse is not gender specific-Protect the Boy Child”.
The Sister Diary at the end of the program presented some educational materials to the girls including, exercise books and school bags to enhance their education.