On the 20th of April, 2018, a video of a young girl believed to be in her mid-twenties, went viral on social media when she was severely lashed publicly by some men believed to be her brothers. News reports from Ghana Web reveal that this action was at the command of the chief of the community because she had allegedly converted her room in the family house into a brothel. Citifmonline news also explained the girl was disciplined on the grounds that she came home late. The video showed two men laying the girl on a bench, as they held her feet and arms to restrain her, while two others whipped her with a horsetail girl tightly held unto a bench by two men, while another whipped her with a horsetail.
The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Hon. Otiko Afisah Djaba expressed her disappointment. She explained in a communiqué published on Citifmonline news that, “ I would like to take this opportunity to remind Ghanaians that gender-based violence is an offence and punishable by law, irrespective of whether you are a father, husband, boyfriend, mother or relative”.
Every Ghanaian, irrespective of his or her background or status has right. Human rights are guaranteed by law and therefore every child has the right to be protected and respected, hence relatives who violate these rights should be accountable for their actions. This is enshrined in the Children’s Ac t 1998 (Act 560).
Below is a visualization of assault cases reported to the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit of the Ghana Police Service between 2014 and 2016.The info graphic visualization reveals the gender and number of suspects and victims that have been recorded in those three years by the Unit.
According to the Criminal Code of Ghana (1960), Act 29, Section 84 spells out that ‘Whoever unlawfully assaults any person is guilty of a misdemeanour’. Section 86 indicates that battery as a form of assault as it states that:
A person makes an assault and battery upon another person, if without the other person’s consent, and with the intention of causing harm, pain, or fear, or annoyance to the other person, or of exciting him to anger, he forcibly touches the other person, or causes any person, animal, or matter to forcibly touch him. (Section 86,article 1)
In this second visualization, we see the number of cases reported based on the relationship that exists between victims and suspects of assault. From the bar graph, we can tell that most assault cases are perpetrated by members of the victim’s Nuclear and Extended families. Indeed, in 2016, the number of cases reported for the nuclear family setting was the highest. According to the news reports, the lady in the viral video was being beaten by her own brothers who go to corroborate the data presented above.
We at Visuals for Gender support Hon. Otiko Afisah Djaba call for the perpetrators to be arrested and punished according to the laws of the land.