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Teach Children What “Unsafe” Touching Means ― Otiko Djaba

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As part of initiatives to combat abuse against children in Ghana, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Madam Otiko Afisah Djaba, has underscored the importance of teaching children to be articulate about their lives, especially when it comes to how people treat and touch them.

According to her, children need to recognise that certain kinds of behaviour are not right and they should be confident to report such wrong acts to their parents, guardians or appropriate authorities.

She said, “the time has come that we have to teach our children of safe touching and unsafe touching. It is okay for parents to hug and kiss their children but it is not okay for the uncle to touch and fondle the private parts of the boy child or the girl child,” she said.

Madam Djaba said, talking about child sexual abuse with a child may seem difficult, but the possible consequences of not talking with them are even worse―that they may be sexually abused and not know where to turn for help.

Speaking at the launch of Social Drive Campaign against Child Abuse, held in Accra, last Wednesday, the Minister said children’s inability to report abuse to parents is as a result of mistrust.

“Often times when the child reports that a family member has defiled or abused them, the child is treated as if she is the criminal…there is a cultural of silence and the children would be victimised and stigmatised.”

Disheartening Statistics

Speaking at the Launch, the Country Representative for UNICEF, Rushnan Murtaza expressed worry over the intimidating statistics of violence in Ghana.

She said, “More than 90 per cent of children in Ghana have experienced some form of physical wiles. 16 per cent of girls between the ages of 15 and 19 have had their first experience of sexual intercourse forced against them. An estimated 23 per cent of children between 5 and 14 years are engaged in some forms of economic activity.”

Murtaza therefore called for increased action to ensure that harmful practices such as child marriage, trafficking and all forms of violence is annulated.

“Unless we stand up and create a social movement against abuse. Children in Ghana will continue to experience violation,” she added.

The Launch

Dignitaries of high profile, including the Second Lady of the Republic of Ghana, Mrs Samira Bawumia were at the launch to offer their commitments and support for the campaign.

They pledged to be Ghanaians Against Child Abuse (GACA).

The Ministries of Gender, Children and Social Protection and of Local Government and Rural Development in collaboration with UNICEF are propelling the movement called GACA.

Dignitaries pledge to be Ghanaians Against Child Abuse
Dignitaries pledge to be Ghanaians Against Child Abuse

Source: Grace Ablewor Sogbey/ ksogbey@yahoo.com

 

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