November 21, 2020
Domestic Violence, which is the least visible form of abuse and a silent killer of many, remains the most widespread and the cause of deaths of many women and children every year. Unfortunately domestic abuse is often considered less seriously than other forms of violence. It effect transcend the individual who is the victim, to the family as a unit, the community and the entire society.
Domestic violence includes physical, psychological, sexual, economic and emotional abuse perpetuated by one person against another, mostly women, within the context of an intimate or family relationship. The goal of the abuser is to establish and maintain power and control over the victim.
According to the Domestic Violence Act, 2007, (Act 732) of Ghana, domestic violence within a previous or existing relationship means “engaging in an act under the Criminal Code 1960 (Act 29), which constitutes a threat or harm to a person under the Act; specific acts, threats to commit, or acts likely to result in physical, sexual, economic, and emotional abuse”.
This is the most familiar form of violence. It involves a range of acts that are generally inflicted by one person against another, resulting in varying degrees of injury. Such acts include inflicting pain, or causing harm through use of the hand, assaulting/battering with weapons such as a knife, stick, belt, or rope. It can include cruel punishment and physical torture, such as engaging someone in forced labour, forced imprisonment, disfigurement (face scarring), and can sometimes cause death.
This type of abuse usually precedes physical abuse, and consists of derogatory comments: ‘putting down’, insults, provoking, threatening to take children away and denying access to them. These utterances are calculated to demean, humiliate or degrade the woman, in the home or out of the home. Some of these utterances include telling a woman she is ugly, useless, and foolish; a bad mother, wife and housekeeper, all of which make a woman feel worthless and without control of her life.
This is closely linked to verbal abuse. It is used to force compliance or obedience, and/or to exert control. It included threatening behaviour, such as a spouse withholding affection, communication, sex or company, as well as outright insults, threats, and criticism, bullying, and disrespect of women.
This form of abuse includes rape or any forced sexual action, including marital rape (which is part of spousal abuse), defilement, incest, indecent assault, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, sale and trafficking of women and forced prostitution. Basically, it covers any act that humiliates or violates the sexual integrity of a person.
In conclusion, while the manifestation of violence against women, and especially domestic violence, may differ depending on the economic, social and cultural context, the phenomenon is universal and contributes enormously to women’s subordination world-wide. It affects not only women, but the family, neighbours, co-workers and the entire society. Domestic violence is human rights violation against women and must be treated as such. This heinous crime against our mothers, sisters and daughters should stop and the time is now.
Because of the devastating effect it has on women some of whom don’t have a safe haven to go to, I support the creation of safe houses for such victims.
Donations are always appreciated, but there are lots of great ways to get involved.