THEME: SEXUAL ABUSE: PREVENT IT! REPORT IT!!
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Edmund Burke
Sexual abuse in Ghana needs no introduction. We are inundated with the news be it by word of mouth or in the media almost on a daily or at best weekly basis. For example the GNA on 13 April 2017 reports: “20-year-old student on Tuesday appeared before an Accra Circuit Court, for allegedly defiling an eleven year old.
April 20 2017 “A level 300 student of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) is in the grips of the Police for bonking the anus of a 10-year-old girl.” 25th April 2017 A 29-year-old fashion designer, Richard Isaac Dankyi, is standing trial for allegedly taking turns to have anal sex with three children, two males and a female.” (Dankyi is an uncle to the victims).
9th April 2016 “An teenager from Assin Bosomadwe in the Central Region has been sentenced to eight years imprisonment in hard labour by a Cape Coast Circuit Court for defiling a 15-year-old girl. The convict, Prince Dadzie, 18, pleaded guilty to the charge of defilement…”
“Humans as you know commit atrocious acts against other humans. One atrocious things humans do is sexually abuse children. A child is by definition developing or in process. Whenever, you intrude on a developing process, you alter the outcome. The sexual abuse of a child shatters and violates every aspect of their being – their world, their self, their faith and their future. Such violation forces the child to adapt in ways that are often maladaptive in the larger world”. “Suffering and the Heart of God” by Diane Langberg pgs 267-268.
"About 33% of children in Ghana are said to have been sexually abused. The abuse includes rape, molestation, touching of private parts, watching pornography, the use of inappropriate language, and dirty jokes.
Children who have been abused are more likely to suffer from psychiatric problems, be promiscuous, and suffer from many other ailments that require medical care. Furthermore, victims of sexual abuse are normally full of anger and rage; they become bullies in our schools, and deviants in the society.
The cost to the nation in terms of health care, justice system, and loss of human resources can be anyone’s guess. It is therefore crucial not only to highlight the effects of sexual abuse on the individual and the society but more importantly to emphasize the need for prevention.
Plan Ghana (an NGO) commissioned a "Report on the Study of Child Sexual Abuse in Schools" in 2009. The study recommended that Child sexual abuse is a problem that needs a preventive approach to address.
"Although all children are vulnerable to sexual abuse, those aged 15 (37.2%) and 14 (17.4%) years were found to be more vulnerable ....the main perpetrators of sexual abuse were classmates (88.9%)."- Plan Ghana Report.
In focusing on this age group at least almost 90% of perpetrators in this age group will be helped as well as the victims.
Since this is a systemic problem; JT intends to target the young people who are mostly at risk. Juniper Tree, a Christian Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) launched a ten year nationwide campaign dubbed the "Tamar Project” in collaboration with other stakeholders: The Ministry of Education and the Social Welfare Department to :
The project will be divided into Three phases.
Phase 1: Basic training of school counselors in Child abuse prevention and counseling
Phase 2: Baseline survey into knowledge of sexuality child sexual abuse and subsequent effects
Phase 3: Formation of Tamar Clubs in schools and the training of pupils to:
LOCATION: 10 Selected Junior High Schools in the Kumasi &, Ejisu area in Ashanti Region will be part of the pilot program.
IMPLEMENTATION: During the First phase 20 teachers will be selected from the 10 Junior High Schools in these two localities to undergo training and to act as counselors and Ambassadors for the Tamar Project. They will undergo a one day workshop in the course of the year . Multidisciplinary team of Counselors and Law enforcement agencies and medical personnel will facilitate this program.
During the Second phase will see the base line survey done.
The Third phase will see the formation of Tamar clubs in the schools headed by the teacher counselors.
EXPECTED OUTCOMES: This pilot project will help us know what works best and what does not. This will inform our nationwide campaign. The timeline for this pilot phase will be three years. After that it will be rolled out nationwide.