Mr. Mark Woyongo, Upper East Regional Minister, has expressed concern about the spate of domestic violence in the country and appealed for concerted effort at workplaces, homes, schools, and churches to help curb the menace.
He made the observation on Thursday at the close of activities to mark this year's International Women's Day celebration in Bolgatanga.
According to the Minister the national statistics on domestic violence cases received from Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) from January in 2008, 70 girls defiled as against 5 boys.
Also 713 suspected male perpetrators were arrested against 13 females. Three thousand eight hundred and eighty one females suffered from non-maintenance as against 517 males and nine people suffered compulsory marriages.
He indicated that the revelation clearly indicated that women and children suffer violence more, with men being the perpetrators.
He noted that ironically the female population forms about 51 per cent of the nation's population and yet were made to undergo domestic violence, which was detrimental to human fundamental rights.
Mr. Woyongo pledged the Regional Coordinating Council's resolve to
ensure that acts of domestic violence perpetrated, especially against
women and children in the Region, were drastically reduced.
"Women, undoubtedly constitute about 51 per cent of our population.
They therefore wield greater influence in the nurturing of our future
leaders. To subject them to this canker called domestic violence is
therefore very unfortunate," he emphasized.
He highlighted a lot of atrocities committed against women and girls
as a result of which they suffer physical, economic, social, sexual and
economic abuse throughout their lives.
He noted that there were some instances where women and girls suffer domestic violence in the name of culture and tradition not to mention the
number of women beaten and thrown out of their marital homes.
"The worst form of it is how brilliants girls are withdrawn from
schools and given out for marriage against their will, denying the nation
a great deal of human resource for development.
Mr. Wayongo indicated that the Government attaches great importance to the issue of domestic violence and that was why it passed the Domestic Violence Bill in 2007 to give much impetus to the cause of women and children in the country.
He noted that the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs, in collaboration with other stakeholders had planned activities towards the implementation of a National Plan of Action with respect to Law.
The Regional Director of the Upper East Regional Department of Women, Ms Mercy Atule, blamed the spate of domestic violence oN the patriarchal system where the men are given a lot of economic, social and political advantage.
She noted that Patriarchy is associated with subordination and oppression of women which accounted for historical patterns of the violence against women, and said this year's occasion which is under the theme; "Men and Women Uniting to End Violence Against Women and Girls" was aimed at tapping the opportunities that are available for future generation of women.
She stated that about 90 per cent of domestic violence in the Region is caused by men and reiterated the need for the general public to start preaching against the issue of Domestic violence; beginning at homes, work places, schools, churches and communities among others.
DSP Jerome Kanyog, Regional Coordinator of Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit of the Police Service (DOVVSU), blamed most cases of domestic violence on alcoholism, desire for power and control, lack of respect for human rights, especially by men towards women, poverty, insufficient laws against gender based violence and justice system that silently condoned violence against women and girls, among others.
He mentioned some of the consequences of domestic violence on the victims' health including injury, disability, death, STD, and AIDS.
Others are emotional damage, including anger, resentment, fear, loss of ability to function and carry out daily activities, feeling of depression and isolation, broken families, school drop-out and low productivity.
DSP Kanyog said Domestic Violence issues were a developmental issue and called on all stakeholders to get involved in the fight to pave way for development.
A senior investigator of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) in the Upper East Region, Mr. Mohammed A Tiamiyu, presenting a paper on "Gender Based Violence" said it was against the provision of Article 17(2) of the 1992 constitution of Ghana which state that " A person shall not be discriminated on grounds of gender, race, colour, ethnic, origin, religion, creed or social and economic status".
He appealed to those fond of the practice to desist from that since the law would not spare them when caught.
He indicated that men should recognize the role of women as partners in the relationship and not slaves who ought to take instructions.
"Couples should live in mutual respect, and domestic violence should not be treated as a family affair", he said, adding that people should be courageous to report the perpetrators of domestic violence to DOVVSU.