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28.10.2002 General News

Parliament bemoans increasing child abuse and rape

By GNA/Corrections by McKinley
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Members of Parliament have expressed concern about the increasing and disturbing incidence of child abuse and rape of children and suggested that such cases of brutality against the girl-child and women should be given more prominence. The Members were contributing to a statement issued by Ms. Hawa Yakubu, NPP-Bawku Central in Parliament on the increasing cases of child abuse, rape and related cankers in our society today. Members concerns called for the need for a national debate by all stakeholders, self-discipline by men, public education programmers to Ghanaians, public flogging of rapists, harmonization, and review of laws. Member of the ECOWAS Parliament, Ms.Yakubu said it was regrettable that not a week passed these days without news of adults raping children, elderly women under attack by young men, and injuries to innocent children. She said this year alone, there had been 113 rape cases and 380 defilement cases reported to WAJU. "It was time perpetrators of such evil acts were made to pay for their deeds." She stated that it was unfortunate that our laws and sometimes judiciary system, society seem to take these serious crimes mildly and therefore the rapists get away with little or no punishment at all. Parents and guardians had succumbed to societal pressures to settle such crimes out of court to the detriment of the poor child whose life may be derailed for life. The Member recommended that the minimum sentences under the laws should be made stiffer for the would-be rapist to serve as a deterrent, adding that there was the need for more education in the form of a national crusade against such crimes for the sake of protection for the young girls. Ms.Yakubu said our law enforcement agencies should also pay attention to issues of violence against women and children in the society. She expressed her gratitude to the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), the African Women Development Fund, Non-governmental organizations, and embassies for supporting victims of such horrific acts. Ms. Sena Akua Dansua, NDC- North Dayi, said rape and defilement were social vices which should be treated with all seriousness, and called for a national debate by all stakeholders to help eradicate them from the society. Mrs. Angelina Baiden-Amissah NPP-Shama said zince it had become a social menace, the question should be asked why some men decide to enter into illegal sexual relations, with even toddlers. She said if such men wanted to derive pleasures, she wondered what was attractive about such children who sometimes even had no breast. Adding that in some areas reasons adduced for the acts were for ritual purposes, and that young girls who had not broken their virginity were free from the AIDS disease. Mrs. Cecilia Amoah, NPP-Asutifi South, said it was regrettable that almost every week there were news of teachers and pastors defiling teenagers, "The law against defilement should be re-defined to include public flogging in addition to prison sentences, to serve as warning to those who cannot control their passions."

Mr. Stephen Manu Balado, NPP- Ahafo Ano South, called for the harmonization of laws on rape and that rape should not be restricted to only men as the perpetrators. It should not be defined as men acting against women since some women too can rape men. He said there was the need to review the laws on rape, and advised that parents should be prepared to train their children in martial arts for protection from attackers and rapists.

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