Families have been urged to guard against domestic violence, especially gender-based forms as they observe the stay home restrictions imposed by the government to stop the spread of COVID-19.
According to Professor Stephen Owusu Kwankye, an associate professor at the Regional Institute for Population Studies, University of Ghana, the period should rather be used to consolidate family bonds and not dissipate it.
“The lockdown and other restrictions will help familiesto foster co-existence but it will be a recipe for gender-based violence if they are unable to coexist. We must guard against this”, he said in an interview with the Ghanaian Times.
President Akufo-Addo on March 15 imposed various restrictions as part of measures to control the spread of the coronavirus disease, including a ban on social gatherings, closure of borders and schools and a partial lockdown.
The partial lockdown of Accra, Kumasi and Kasoa, which lasted three weeks, was however lifted on April 19, while the ban on social gatherings has been extended to the end of May.
This, according to Prof. Kwankye was necessary to tackle the pandemic but it had set the stage for either conflict or comfort at home depending on prevailing issues prior to the imposition of the restrictions and how the members of the families handle them.
In families where intimacy would be bolstered, he said it could lead to unplanned pregnancies, a situation that could increase the country’s population.
He therefore advised that family planning options were considered during the period while female students should be cautious of their sexual escapades and be mindful of how unplanned pregnancies could curtail their education.
Prof. Kwankye also called on government agencies and their development partners to increase education on domestic violence and act promptly when cases were reported.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR