The northern regional director of the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Mr Emmanuel Holortu, has advised young women bent on getting married, to refrain from the practice of using pregnancy to induce men with the aim of getting them to marry them.
He expressed the worry that such practice was becoming rampant in some Ghanaian communities and added that marriages that started on that note often resulted in the men abusing the women.
“This type of marriage often results in domestic violence as you may have the man or the woman with you physically but emotionally and psychologically, the person is not there with you,” he stated.
ASP Holortu gave the advice at a training programme organised by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), with support from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) for some selected journalists in the three regions of the north to educate them on the negative impacts of forced and child marriages in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region.
It was on the theme: “Media orientation and communication on child marriage initiative in Ghana: the role of the media.”
The training, among other objectives, was to enhance the capacities of the participants, including journalists, staff from the DOVVSU and Department of Gender, to effectively create awareness of the negative effect of child marriage, and also to increase supportive actions related to meeting the needs and expectations of girls.
ASP Holortu said the pregnancy-induced marriages were gaining prominence in some Ghanaian societies, and needed to be discouraged, pointing out that it was a crude way of gaining the love and acceptance of either a man or woman for marriage.
ASP Holortu indicated that most of the pregnancy-induced marriages also contributed greatly to single parenting as in most cases one of the partners was likely to abandon the marriage.
He, therefore, called on all Ghanaians to discourage the practice which, he said, had eaten into the minds of many young people.
It is estimated that globally more than 700 million children are married before attaining their 18th birthday.
West and Central Africa, for instance, follow closely after South Asia with two out of five (41 per cent) girls marrying before 18 years.
Although Ghana was making progress in the fight against child marriage, the three regions of the north continued to record high figures of such cases.
A Communications Analyst for UNFPA, Dr Doris Mawuse Aglobitse, in her opening remarks, said communication played a critical role in addressing issues of child marriage, hence the need to educate journalists on the negative impact of the menace.
She, therefore, challenged the journalists to be agents of change in the fight against forced and child marriage in the country.