The Zonta Club of Accra, a member of Zonta International, a global organisation of executives and professionals, has organised a health walk and fundraising to begin the 16-Days of Activism Campaign Against Gender-Based Violence.

The walk and fundraising was supported by the three other Zonta International clubs in the country.

The 16-Days Activism is an International Calendar Campaign Against Gender-Based Violence, which is held every year on November 25 to coincide with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and ends on December 10, which marks the International Human Rights Day.

It emphasises that gender-based violence, in any form, is a human rights violation, which is unacceptable.

The Campaign contributes to a world free from gender-based violence, especially for women and girls, including other vulnerable groups such as the aged, persons living with disability and orphaned children.

The 16-Days would be for awareness-creation activities comprising advocacy, generating public support to effectively prevent and address gender-based violence in education, health and the job market among others.

Mrs Janet Aba Tamaklo, the President of Zonta Club, Accra, said since the 1970s the club had been working with its mother organisation to advance the status of women worldwide through service and advocacy.

She said violence against women was a worldwide pandemic, which crossed every social and economic class, religion, race and ethnicity and that one out of every three women worldwide had experienced violence during their lifetime.

“We in Zonta International cannot accept this; we need to use all our energy to eradicate violence against women and girls locally and internationally through service and advocacy.”

Mrs Tamaklo said violence against women occurred in many aspects of life namely; the home, in work places, in open spaces, as human trafficking, as female genital mutilation, early child marriage and childbearing.

She said the Zonta Club of Accra deplored the rampant defilement of vulnerable children and the attitude of certain opinion leaders in the communities where the practices were on the increase.

She said the recent incident of defilement in the Adadeintem Community near Assin Fosu in the Assin South District of the Central Region brings into sharp focus the attitude towards this heinous sexual crime that had to be condemned in the strongest possible terms.

Mrs Tamaklo said: “Zonta views with concern this blatant disregard for human rights of victims of these sexual misconducts that traumatise the victims and may scar for life.”

She commended the health professionals who provide care to victims of illegal sexual misconduct and expressed regret about the lackadaisical approach by the law enforcement agencies towards perpetrators of these offences.

She appealed to the Department of Social Welfare to be more responsive to victims of sexual violence.

Madam Anne-Marie French Cudjoe, the Governor of Zonta International District 18, said data from the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service showed an overall increase in reported cases between 2010 and 2013.

“In 2010, a total of 9,878 cases were recorded as against 14,224 in 2013, a rise of 30.5 per cent,” she said.

Zonta International District 18 comprises countries from West and East Africa including Ghana, Nigeria, Togo, Benin, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Rwanda.

Madam Cudjoe mentioned unequal distribution of power, opportunities, and resources between men and women, poverty and illiteracy, polygamy and the attendant competition and rivalry among spouses, inadequate policy implementation and enforcement of existing laws, authoritarian parenting and low status of women as some of the causes of Gender-Based Violence.

She said the effects of such violence included fear and insecurity, maternal morbidity and mortality, abortions, transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, severe injury and suicide due to stigmatisation.

Madam Cudjoe recommended that the Government must include Gender-Based Violence into school curricula, disseminate the Domestic Violence Act and related legislations to the grassroots to facilitate local response and train court prosecutors and DOVVSU staff on the Law.

She also recommended improvement in the education of women and girls, and prioritisation of efforts to eliminate violence against women and girls at all levels of the administrative set-up of the country.

The Zonta Club of Accra was established in 1970 while Zonta International was established in 1919.

On Friday, Madam Otiko Afisa Djaba, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, launched activities of the 16-Days of Activism Campaign, which includes a National Durbar to be held at Assin Fosu in the Central Region and a debate between St Thomas Aquinas and Labone Senior High schools.

Other activities are Radio and Television Talk shows, Health Education and Screening, and Stakeholder Consultations on the Draft Ghana Report on the Implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.