Knutsford University College in Accra, hosted the final phase of the 2019 Digital Violence Awareness Conference, which was aimed at educating female students on measures to prevent image-based sexual abuse.
Organised by Ladies in Media, a nongovernmental organisation, the event brought together female role models and digital experts who took turns to educate the students on ways to utilise technology to improve upon their academics instead of falling prey to fraudsters on social media especially.
Speaking at the event, recording and performing artiste, Mrs Diana Hopeson advised female students to avoid sharing naked photos on social media since the act would have dire consequences on their future aspirations.
“Female students should desist from sharing their naked pictures with partners who often demand for them but end up using the images to demand for sexual favours or blackmail them in one way or the other,” she stated.
She added that, the internet had a lot to offer to students in terms of providing knowledge and research to improve upon their career instead of engaging in activities that would destroy their future.
Assistant Commissioner of Police, Director of Cybercrime Unit-CID, Dr Gustav Yankson highlighted some of the crimes perpetuated in the digital space which included, child pornography, sex extortion, cyber stalking, blackmail and hate speech.
According to him, fraud, sex extortion and child pornography were the highest reported cases of cybercrime in the country and cautioned students against engaging in such activities.
“Be smart, vigilant and do not even take nude photos as it might get into wrong hands and eventually used to destroy your image,” she stated.
On her part, Director, Department of Gender, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Rev. Dr Comfort Asare, said digital abuse was a critical gender issue against women.
She said the ministry had initiated steps to ensure that digital abuse cases were dealt with by law to ensure that the situation was curbed.
In view of that, she said, Ghana through the Ministry enacted the Domestic Violence Act (Act 732) on May 3, 2007 concentrating on physical violence, sexual violence, emotional violence, psychological violence and economic violence.
The Ministry she said, identifying the issue of digital violence has taken steps to amend the Criminal Code to include digital crime as a violence issue.
Group Head of Communication, Jospong Group of Companies, Mrs Sophia Slissah said female students should concentrate on their books and ways to improve upon themselves.
“Always look out for ways to add value to yourself and not be deceived by what you see on social media that could endanger your life,” she stressed.
National President for Ladies in Media, Ms Margaret Baiden, expressed appreciation to the speakers and students for their contributions during the campaign.
Schools engaged during the campaign included the Ghana Institute of Journalism, Multimedia Institute of Ghana, GH Media School, Crystal Galaxy and Wesley Grammar.
BY MICHAEL D. ABAYATEYE