Inerela Ghana, a faith-based NGO, has described Gender Based Violence (GBV) as a canker which society must, as a matter of urgency, get rid of to protect the vulnerable.
The Country Director of INERELA Ghana, Madam Mercy Acquah Hayford expressed the worry at a forum organised by her outfit for parents and pupils of the NiiKojoAbabio Cluster of Schools in Accra yesterday.
The forum aimed at educating the pupils, who are residents of Chorkor and Korle Gonno , Accra, on the dangers of enduring abusive relationships, effects of sexual immorality and the need to desist from discriminating against persons living with HIV.
According to Madam Hayford, the rate at which teenagers had become sexually active lately was alarming, therefore, more effort must be directed at introducing measures to the salvage the situation.
Such immoral acts, she said, exposed them to various forms of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and teenage pregnancy.
“When your dreams are shattered as a result of living irresponsibly, you become too vulnerable to the point that even when you find yourself in any form of abusive relationship, you will be unable to make the right decision of leaving,” she said.
She mentioned that all victims of domestic violence, especially women must speak up and quit such toxic relationships while setting good examples for their children to follow.
“When you stay in abusive marriages, you teach your children the wrong things about life. Let them know that all forms of abuse are unacceptable,” she stressed.
Touching on the dangers of acquiring STIs like HIV, she mentioned that it was very important for the pupils to remain chaste while focusing on their books “because HIV knows no age. It can affect anyone so reduce your risk by staying chaste.”
MrCephasAnsah, lawyer and a board member of INERELA Ghana, in his submission sent a word of caution to individuals who physically or sexually abuse others, saying the laws of the country would deal squarely with them when they are found culpable.
He advised the pupils to take their academics seriously and always respect their parents and the elderly so that they could grow up to become responsible and successful members of the society.
“Stop having sex with persons under age 18 even if they consent to it. This is a crime punishable by law so the men who are fond of sleeping around with teenagers with the excuse that the young girls consented to the act must be very cautious. When we grab you we will not spare you, leave the children alone,” he added.
On her part, Ms Paulina Essel, a legal practitioner said it was wrong for parents to force their pregnant teenagers into marriage to the individuals who got them pregnant.
This, she said, could affect the future of the child, as going to stay with a man at that age would mean an end to their education.
“Do not force any pregnant teenager into marriage, rather, allow them to stay with you to deliver and send them back to school to continue with their education afterwards. It is your duty as parents to guide them so that they do not make any more mistakes that could affect their future,” she said.
Queen mother of KorleGonno,Naa Adua Okropong I, advised the pupils against hesitating to report anyone who attempts to abuse them sexually to their teachers or any security personnel they know.
BY RAISSA SAMBOU