STAKEHOLDERS HAVE raised concern over rising cases of rape and defilement in the Eastern Region.
Though the Eastern Regional Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) office is reluctant to provide statistics on the number of sexual abuse cases recorded this year in the region, there is generally an increase in defilement and rape cases there.
The Koforidua Circuit Courts have just this month thrown many culprits into jail over the menace while others are standing trial.
For instance, a 19-year-old driver, George Gbeve, has been jailed eight years for camping and defiling a 13-year-old girl for one month.
Also, a 62-year-old man, Yaw Agyenim Boateng, who lives at Nyamekrom in the New Juaben Municipality, has been jailed 12 months for indecent assault against a 15-year-old JHS pupil.
The court again on November 21, 2017 jailed a spiritualist, Kofi Asiedu, popularly known as Mallam Isaah, for 17 years for defiling a 14-year-old girl on the pretext of exorcising witchcraft from her.
In another defilement case, a 10-year-old class five pupil of St. Mary’s Preparatory School in Koforidua who was painfully defiled while on her way to school has also got justice.
The victim defaecated on herself during the agonising penetration by the culprit on October 13, 2017 in an uncompleted building.
Fortunately, the 19-year-old culprit, Seth Amanor Kingsley, was arrested weeks later and has been jailed 18 years.
Dr David Kupualor, the Medical Director at St. Josephs Hospital, who worked on this victim, told the DAILY HERITAGE she suffered broken hymen with second degree laceration of the periphery, which needed urgent attention, hence the victim was admitted.
Some teenagers, who confided in the paper, lamented the behaviour of some of their parents towards them whenever they complained of sexual abuses, which prevents them from telling their ordeals.
.According to them, their parents insult and humiliate them for being bad girls.
The Programme Implementation Manager of Compassion International Ghana (CIGH), Ms Florence Sena Amposah, said as part of efforts to curb the menace, the church has crucial role to play side by side parents and opinion leaders to help create awareness and fight for justice for victims.
She said this at the 2017 Somanya Cluster Conference organised for the organisation’s volunteers, caregivers and other stakeholders, including pastors and teachers, on the theme ‘Naturing and Protecting the Child for a Better Future’.
Available data indicate that a total of 25,468 children in Ghana were sexually abused from 2012 to 2014.
According to DOVVSU, out of the 1,919 defilement cases reported between 2015 and 2016 in Ghana, 1,100 are yet to be resolved.
According to Ms Amponsah, solid evidence is needed to prosecute perpetrators, hence he advised parents and guardians to ensure that rape and defilement victims do not bath nor wash their panties before lodging complaints so that clinical evidence could be gathered to aid investigation and prosecution.
The Public Relations Officer of the Eastern Regional Police Command, ASP Ebenezer Tetteh, who has been cataloging some of the cases prosecuted by the police this month, said the Regional Police Command is concerned with the upsurge in rape and defilement cases in the region and so it conducts swift investigating to ensure early prosecution of culprits.
The National President of Ghana National Association of Certified Counsellors, Ms Cecilia Tutu -Danquah, called on churches not to demonise and humiliate youth who fornicate but rather show compassion and counsel them.
She said the situation where the youth accused of fornicating are called before the congregation, humiliated and excommunicated from church activities prevents teenagers and the youth to confide their reproductive and sexual challenges to others.
She said in as much as she is not against ex-communicating fornicating congregants, it must be done in close doors with counselling and Biblical teachings.