Selasa, 19 Maret 2013


SHE was just 13 years old when her brother-in-law took advantage of her innocence. It happened one afternoon when her sister was out and she was alone with him.

She was resting comfortably in her room when her brother-in-law sneaked in and began to approach her. She didn’t know what to do and, because she was young, he had his way with her and threatened her never to whisper a word about her ordeal.

Her sister was a busy person who was hardly around to have a friendly chat with her, so she never got to know what happened to her. She only realised it later when the victim was on admission at the hospital, but to protect the image of the family and her marriage, the issue was never discussed.

Shy, scared, and angry at the world for the fate that had befallen her, she left her sister’s house to stay with her parents. As if that was not enough, she was years later again raped by her uncle whom she trusted and respected so much in the family.

Now she is 18 and has completed her senior high school with hopes for the future, but her past still haunts her  and she is unable to think clearly. Hatred clouds her judgement anytime she recollects her past and she has disassociated herself from any family gathering.

This is the story told by a raped victim to a presenter on an Accra-based radio station during a phone in session that offered rape victims an opportunity to tell their stories.

Another victim, who called in to the programme, narrated how she was raped by a man who was a member of their church. It has been almost 30 years since the incident happened but she recalls it as if it happened yesterday.

Her ordeal began one afternoon when the man asked her to come to his house to collect some money to pay his tithe for him since he was not going to be available the following Sunday.

Who wouldn’t want to help a brother, especially when it is a matter concerning God? She, therefore, paid him a visit in his house and hours after she had been there, she decided to take her leave home.

That was when she saw him remove his clothes. He pushed her into his bedroom, forced her to lie on his bed and forcibly had sex with her.

Months after the incident, she got pregnant and had no option but to abort the pregnancy for fear of being expelled from the church. She also thought that no one would believe her story.

As if that was not enough, she was again raped by her uncle at the age of 17; and he did that several times too. “Who will believe me if I say a word? So I kept quiet until today,” she said.

Now, what would be your reaction if a lady tells you she has been raped by a policeman? What!!! Exactly my expression when this caller narrated that she was tortured and shocked with a stun gun to weaken her so he could have sex with her.

This happened six years ago, and like the other callers, she recalled every minute and second of that day as if it was happening all over again.

First, he pushed her. Her head hit the refrigerator and she fell on the ground. She fought back with all her might.  Knowing that he might not succeed on his mission, the policeman used his stun gun on her until she could fight no more.

This caller could also not tell anyone because her rapist was a policeman and it was her word against his. She still remembers his face and detests the uniform which is worn by other policemen with pride to protect the vulnerable in society. To her, one nut spoils all.

Now, in my neighbourhood, Maamobi, a suburb of Accra, a 13-year-old-girl was fingered by an old drunkard when she was just three years old.

She bled, with bruises around her vagina wall. Her mother was blamed because she was alone playing when the incident happened and was also not wearing any panties.

The case was later rubbished and warm water was used to heal the bruises. She is now 13 and a 45-year-old ex-convict, who was jailed for rape and released about seven years ago, recently had his way with her in a public toilet when the lights were out.

Yes, in a public toilet. A passerby who heard some awkward movements in the toilet raised an alarm and when she did, the rapist, who collects rubbish at the Maamobi Market, ran away.

The case was immediately reported to the Police and her mother was asked to take her to the hospital. Ignorant of the danger that had befallen her daughter, the mother brought her home and used some warm water to wash her.

She complained of abdominal pains days after and was given some pain killers.  Till date, the rapist walks freely in the neighbourhood. He has still not been arrested and as usual, the poor mother has left everything in the hands of God.

Governments in succession, since 1957, have tried their best to eliminate violence against women in all forms, especially rape and defilement.

During the last State of the Nation Address, the President expressed concern over increasing cases of rape and defilement in the country.

He was particularly disturbed that family members, religious leaders, traditional rulers and sometimes public officials connived to cover up cases of defilement and rape.

"I wish to emphasise that rape and defilement are criminal and must be handled by the criminal justice system. We must bring to book paedophiles and rapists who prey on our women and rob them of their dignity," he said.

He also instructed the Inspector-General of Police, the Domestic Violence and Victims' Support Unit of the Ghana Police Service (DOVVSU) and the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to work together to ensure that persons who defile innocent children and rape women are brought to justice.

However, even though a number of these criminal acts are being reported to the DOVVSU and the Ghana Police Service, a greater number of them remain unreported, as a result of victimisation and the fear of being further traumatised.

It is, therefore, important for the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to make issues of rape and defilement a number one priority and also ensure that maximum sentences are imposed on offenders to deter others from committing such crimes.

Also, awareness should be created in order to encourage parents and victims not to deal with rape and defilement cases at home, but to seek legal advice and instantly report cases to the police.

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