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12.08.2005 Regional News

Sexual assault humiliates, reduces self-esteem - Mrs. Kpodo

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Accra, Aug.11, GNA - Mrs. Diana Kpodo, Programme Manager for Crisis Response, of the Ark Foundation, a non governmental organisation (NGO) on Thursday described sexual assault as serious problem which humiliates the victims and deprived them of their self-esteem.

She said issues concerning sexual abuse have been given less attention, with the victims living and dying in silence and therefore, the need for awareness creation and education on the subject, with the topic finding its place on church curricula and youth programmes. Speaking at a day's forum on "sexual assault in Ghana under the theme: Sexual Assault is Criminal, Seek Help", Mrs Kpodo called on all to support victims since it did not affect only the individual but the society as a whole.

Mrs Angela Dwamena Aboagye, Executive Director of Ark Foundation, called on society to take issues of sexual abuse seriously and provide the necessary help to victims.

Mrs Dwamena Aboagye said some victims of sexual abuse were living in dead silence leading to the trauma of the victims, while the perpetrators continued with their bad deeds.

She called for the need for society to break the silence on sexual abuse exposing perpetrators to face the full rigours of the law. She appealed to government to provide the necessary resources that would support and rehabilitate the victims. Mr. Adolf Awuku Bekoe, Clinical Psychologist, said issues concerning sexual abuse should not be trivialised, especially cases where children were involved.

"Children should have the cause to trust the elderly, this will break the silence of sexual abuse." He called on the Courts to create special rooms where children would not go through the horror of facing the perpetrators during hearings. " Children who go through this system feel traumatized, and that creates more problems for them."

Dr James Clayman, Network Partner to the Ark Foundation, said domestic violence was a form of epidemic in society, which needed to be tackled with all seriousness. He said the passing of the Domestic Violence Bill into law would help bring down the prevalence rate of domestic violence and punish the perpetrators.

He called on all to join hands to fight the phenomenon since women and children were the most vulnerable in the society. He also called on parents to spend more time with their children, especially girls since most of the victims of those abominable acts turned out to be the girl-child.

" No work is as important as your child, you must therefore, spend quality time with them and educate them on sexual issues," he said.