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General News of Wednesday, 5 April 2017


Cease charging rape victims – DOVVSU to doctors

The Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) has spoken openly for the first time against demands made by doctors in the Upper East region before police medical forms brought before them by victims of sexual violence are endorsed.

Such demands, according to the law enforcement agency, go against the Domestic Violence Act and, therefore, should be discouraged. The unit, however, observed that the law had been existent just on paper as doctors, in reality, had continued to firmly turn away victims of rape and defilement who are too poor to pay Gh¢300 to have their medical examination forms approved.

“Though it’s in Domestic Violence Act that the endorsements should be free, but in actual fact, my brother, it’s not free. That law is not in any way enforced. That’s what it’s supposed to be, but it’s not operationalised. This is what people should be pushing for, that the law should be operationalised.

“And if they have to operationalise that portion of the Act, there should be a fund for that. I don’t blame the doctor because if he [does] it for free and it’s time for him to come to the court to testify, who is going to facilitate his movements up and down? And it may not be one day or two days,” DOVVSU’s Deputy Upper East Regional Coordinator, ASP Veronica Obese, told Starr News.

DOVVSU’s open disapproval of the endorsement fees comes after a supposed virgin, a 13-year-old school dropout, was raped recently inside a bush at night in the Talensi District and filmed in the process. The footage spread rapidly on social media, drawing public rage and ceaseless calls for arrest and prosecution of the suspects.

More girls likely to be defiled and raped- experts

It took the intervention of the Child Protection Network, a group formed in 2008 to see to the welfare of children in the region, to get a medical form endorsed for the bush-rape victim.

A doctor in the region had declined to offer the service sought without a payment of Gh¢300, which the victim’s unemployed mother could neither afford nor raise. The Regional Health Directorate, according to DOVVSU, instructed the doctor to endorse the medical examination form for free at the intervention of the Child Protection Network and docket forwarded later to the Attorney-General for the next line of action.

But experts have warned of the region facing a possible wave of rape and defilement attacks with the poor being the main targets as long as it is public knowledge to lawbreakers that prosecution will not take place if the poor victims cannot meet doctors’ demands for cash for the required endorsement.

“If prosecution has to stall because huge amounts of money are being charged for endorsement of medical forms, rapists would begin to target vulnerable girls because they know there would not be prosecution once the poor victims cannot afford the high fees for medical report endorsements. So, we are likely to see more rape cases, even more video recordings of the crime and fewer prosecutions,” warned Peter Apuko Awuni who founded Apuko Counselling Services to stop suicide.

What the suspects and the victim said during the act

The alleged virgin captured in the famous rape video, according to DOVVSU, was sent by her mother, who resides at Namolgo in the district, to the market at night.

Whilst at the market, she asked of the whereabouts of her friend from two men who were familiar faces in the community. The men offered her assistance by taking her on a motorcycle to where the friend lived. They did not meet the person they had gone looking for. But on their way back, the older of the two men ordered his companion and the girl to make love together.

The conversations captured in the rape 2-minute video were done in Talen, the dialect spoken in the Talensi District.

The helpless victim, who uttered a loud cry and wriggled without a moment of rest throughout in the clip, can be heard directing her pleas at the two assailants: I will die. I’m sick. It’s hurting me! If I had known your plans, I would not have come with you. Would you send me back when you are done with me?”

The one on top of the girl was half-naked and mute all through the clip. The gang leader barked his orders at the unstable victim: “You won’t die. Open your legs properly! Open your legs well and lie flat! It will enter if you open your legs well. Stop wailing. Has it entered? Keep quiet! Allow us finish and we will go. We are going as soon as we finish. Have you ejaculated (asking his busy companion who did not reply). Carry on.”

At a point he proposed a kiss between the two whilst the act was going on, but the girl resisted. Furious residents, after watching the video of the rape, have called for severe punishments for the perpetrators.
Public opinions divided

Public opinions have been sharply divided as to whether the young man who had sexual intercourse with the teenager whilst the other man barked instructions and filmed the act is innocent or it was planned.

The suspect who had sexual contact with the victim was arrested but released because his age could not be ascertained for prosecution. The bearer of the recording device, Akwasi Zamnock, who is said to be a full-grown adult, is fully on the run.

A middle-aged man, moments after viewing the clip, hopped mad in an interview with Starr News, saying the suspect caught in the video on top of the girl is a far cry from a minor.

“He’s not a small boy. Look, his buttocks, his buttocks alone show that he is not a small boy. This guy is not a small boy. And somebody doing it for the first time would have that guilt in him as the [girl] was saying ‘it’s paining me, it’s paining me’. He was still forcing to do it. He is a grownup.

“This guy should be arrested and if I were the judge, he would go 30 years in hard labour and I would go there to supervise that he is doing the work. These are criminals. People should watch the video again. The penis shows that he is a mature guy. Is that small boy’s buttocks? Watch the video again,” he raged.