The Country Director of Inerela+Ghana, a faith based Non-Governmental Organisation, Mrs Mercy Acquah-Hayford, has called on religious leaders to lead in the search for provision of shelters for victims of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV).
According to her, the provision of shelter would serve as a form of refuge for the victims to seek help first before dealing with legal issues involved.
“Women are the most affected when it comes to abuse or violence, they go through a lot and we think that our religious bodies must lead the way to provide shelters for them. Government as well as NGOs and corporate organisations must also come on board,” she added.
Mrs Acquah-Hayford was speaking at a two-day capacity building workshop organised by Inerela+ Ghana for young adults on SGBV in Accra yesterday.
The workshop aimed to equip and build the capacities of the youth on SGBV to be able to change lives in the communities in which they found themselves.
The youth drawn from different communities were taken through topics such as causes and effects of SGBV, adolescent sexuality and HIV, women’s rights and human rights and HIV stigma and its consequences.
Mrs Acquah-Hayford said even though government was doing well, there was much to be done as the country currently, had only two operational domestic violence shelters, which was not befitting for the country.
She called on religious leaders to lead the way in search of more shelters at least in every district to help protect and reintegrate the victims back into society.
Mrs Acquah-Hayford also urged parents to be supportive, vigilant and care for their children, especially the adolescent girls in order not to be abused, raped, impregnated and infected with HIV.
The Director of Public Education at the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Mrs Nana Yamfoah Amoa-Sekyi, said it was important for every individual Ghanaian to abreast him/herself with the constitution so that their rights were not infringed on.
Immediate Past Chair of Inarela+Ghana, Revered John Azumah, said 70 per cent of the population had negative perceptions about people living with HIV, however anyone could be infected.
He said the judgmental minds of the public against people living with HIV and AIDS made people coil up and hide thus affecting the awareness creation of the disease.
“We can never end HIV and AIDS if society do not change their perception and continue to stigmatise. We must rather show people love and encourage them to take their medication religiously until there is a permanent cure,” he added.
Rev Azumah appealed to state institutions not to stigmatise against people living with HIV and AIDS when recruiting, because they also had the right to a decent employment.
BY VIVIAN ARTHUR