SHS nurturing ground for sexual, gender-based violence
The Council Chair of the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), Sodzi Sodzi-Tettey, says Senior High Schools (SHS) have become a nurturing ground for sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).
He referred to the phenomenon as an "endemic disease" in the society where there were a lot of such cases, although the issue had not been acknowledged and properly addressed in schools.
“There are policies and counselling departments but sexual harassment and violence are not effectively addressed.
The senior high school level is a time when students are very impressionable and are easily influenced”, he stated.
Mr Sodzi-Tettey made the statement at a forum organised by the CSJ and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung on gender and education.
It was on the theme: “Sexual Harassment in Senior High Schools; The role of stakeholders”.
A report on gender-based violence and harassment (GBVH) by the Principal Labour Officer at the Labour Department, Francis Bibuksi revealed that about 77 per cent of most incidents of violence and harassment in the work place took place in urban areas.
The data was taken from about 9,350 workers across all the 16 regions with 4,867 being male and 4,483 female.
Mr Bibuksi explained that females stood a higher risk of encountering at least one form of workplace violence and harassment than their male counterparts.
This, he said, included sexual abuse, sexual harassment, rape, intimidation at workplace among others.
“Despite the legal provision in the country, sexual harassment is prevalent and often confused with courting or playful flirting”, he stated.
He noted that the survey findings indicated that harassment and violence were prevalent among individuals aged 22 to 25.
Mr Bibuksi stated that violence denied children their right to access education and their right to respect and non-discrimination in school.
“This is illustrated by the levels of school drop-out that are directly linked to school violence, particularly among girls”, he explained.
He urged that national institutions mandated to create awareness of these phenomena should target their education programmes at individuals at the tertiary level.
The founder of the Girls Excellence Movement (GEM), Juliana Ama Kplorifa said there were a lot of students who faced challenges of emotional and sexual abuse due to sexual harassment in schools and the home.
She stated that there was no safe haven either in schools, churches, homes and workplace for victims of sexual abuse as it could be found everywhere.