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Irise Ghana empowers pupils to resist sexual violence

Irise Ghana, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) against sexual violence has held a seminar to educate more than 600 pupils in basic schools to fight all forms of abuses.

The seminar, held on Friday, educated the pupils between the ages of six and 16, on Sexual Harassment and Exploitation, Rape and Incest, Teenage Pregnancy, Drug Addiction, Occultism, and Sexual Slavery.

Irise Ghana is an NGO formed from the One Billion Revolution, a global platform that gives women and children the opportunity to raise their voices against injustices that they face every day in society, schools, culture, work and religious places, among other places.

Mrs Vickenzie Gifty Ofei, the Country Director, introduced the pupils to the “PANTS” rule. ‘P’ represents the Private parts of the pupils, which they have the exclusive right to and nobody can touch.

‘A’ means they should always remember that their private parts are theirs alone, while ‘N’ means ‘No and Never to yield to pressure. The ‘T’ is to remind them that there are no secrets to keep from mummy and daddy, therefore they are expected to report any violation of the rules. The ‘S’ rule, demands that in the event of any violation, the pupils must say something to their parents, teachers, and other elderly people to enable them to do something about the situation.

The ‘One Billion Women around the World in Revolution’ was formed to rise against exploitation in every part of the world.

Mrs Sylvia Annoh, a Commission Member of the National Commission for Civic Education, said it was unfortunate that violence against women and girls was assuming alarming proportions not only in Ghana but across the world.

The violence, she said, continued to manifest itself in harmful cultural practices, abuse during pregnancy, spousal murder, psychological and physical violence, child marriages, sexual slavery, kidnapping and trafficking.

Statistics from the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU), indicates that there were 986 defilement cases in 2010, which increased to 1,176 in 2011. Additionally, there were 10 spousal murder cases, with majority, being husbands killing their wives in 2012.

Mrs Annoh expressed worry over situations where most of the culprits are let loose and when most of the culprits tended to be close family members and teachers who were supposed to know better.

“As mothers, sisters, brothers and more especially teachers, it is vital for us to inculcate values such as the knowledge of rights of a child and the identification of danger signs or signals as a pre-emptive measure, rather than the fire service approach, because some of the consequences of these actions are irreversible,” she said.

A child or student who is physically bruised, she said, found it difficult to mingle with relatives, friends, and the public at large, for fear of stigmatisation.

There are other devastating effects such as depression, stress, fear, low self-esteem and even emotional or psychological problems.

Detective Chief Inspector Isaac Addai, an Investigator at the DOVVSU, told the pupils to report to their teachers whenever any of their parents tried to play with their private parts.

He said child marriage was an offence and, therefore, advised Muslim girls to resist when their parents tried to give them out for marriage. “The man will abuse you and treat you like a child and not his wife because, indeed, you are a child,” he advised.

They should desist from watching pornographic materials, practising same sex relations as well as entering men’s rooms and accepting presents from them.

Among the questions the pupils asked were, how they could confide in the Police after being sexually abused when they had heard the Police were corrupt; what could happen to them after their fathers who tried to sexually abuse them had served their jail terms; and how they could discern when men had bad intentions about them.

Source: GNA

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