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General News of Thursday, 29 November 2012

Source: radioxyzonline

53 spousal murders in 29 months - Report

A report released by the human Rights Advocacy Centre (HRAC) has revealed that women bear the brunt of all kinds of abuse perpetuated under the sun.

The report, titled "Deadly Relationships and Toxic Bonds: Spousal Murders and Rival Killings in Ghana", quoted the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service as indicating that in 2011 it recorded 15,495 cases of domestic violence perpetrated against women as against 2,474 cases for men.

“This is a clear indication that women are experiencing violence at the hands of their partners in Ghana and in the worst cases, these violence end in death,” the report said.

At a press conference in Accra to launch the report, Nana Oye Lithur, Executive Director of HRAC called on the Police Service and the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs to urgently conduct further research on spousal murder and initiate an intervention to stem the tide of the alarming rate of violence against women.

The conference, she said, would serve as a platform to kick start 16 days of activism for women’s rights.

According to her, the report used different news outlets both online and prints to source 53 cases of spousal murder from January 2010 to July 2012, out of which 42 were wife killings, five cases of husband killing and six cases of rival killings.

It further noted that over the two years, an average of two spousal murders took place every month, adding that out of the 53 cases of spousal murder, there were six cases of suicide, nine cases of murder attempted suicide, making 15 in total for the murder suicide category with an additional six cases of multiple murders recorded in the same period.

Of these cases, the report noted that the overwhelming majority was of wife killings 28.6 per cent represented termination of relationship; 23.8 per cent of women alleged infidelity; 11.9 per cent unspecified dispute; 2.4 per cent men alleged infidelity; another 2.4 per cent for dispute over money, 4.8 per cent accounted for denied sex; 0.0 per cent for self defence with 9.5 per cent accounting to unknown cause.

The report raised questions on gender equality in Ghana and the male dominance, and female subordination in the traditional roles of the female and male within the relationships.

It said taking into account the stigma and shame associated with domestic violence in Ghana, and the belief of some that it does not constitute a crime, it was reasonable to assume that the actual figure could be much higher.

The report noted that spousal murder and domestic violence were intertwined and that spousal murder was the worst form of domestic violence and in many of the cases of wife killings domestic violence was evident.

In three of the five cases of husband killing, the female perpetrator was acting in self defence after suffering physical and sexual abuse.

It also quoted statistics released by the Gender Centre in 1998 that one in three women in Ghana had experienced domestic violence in their lifetime.

The report therefore recommended the establishment of youth education programmes to streamline gender roles and norms in Ghanaian society, enforcement of legislation to recognize the rights of spouses; reframing domestic violence as a human rights issue and increasing resources for organizations fighting against domestic violence such as DOVVSU of the Police Service.

Nana Kesewa II, Queen mother of the Akwamu Nnudu Traditional area who launched the report said it should be made available to the various queenmothers’ associations, churches, market women and all who matter to help empower and liberate women who are particularly vulnerable to domestic violence and abuse.

Mr John Baffour Dwumah, an uncle of a victim of rival killing re-counted how his niece was brutally stabbed to death by her boyfriend for deciding to end a soured relationship and advised the youth to think through carefully before entering into relationships and also learn to contain rejection.

Representatives from the UN, the Department of social Welfare, the HRAC agreed that women bore the blunt of domestic violence and that there was the need for stringent measure to be put in place to stem the tide.

They re-echoed the need to end violence against women due to its urgency in order to protect the human rights and dignity of all citizens of Ghana.

HRAC is a not-for-profit, independent, non-partisan, research and advocacy organization set up to advance and protect human rights in Ghana.

The HRAC’s mission is to ensure the realization, respect, promotion and protection of the rights of all persons living in Ghana in accordance with Ghanaian law and international standards, and to increase human rights awareness and the adoption of a sustainable human rights culture by public officers in Ghana, thereby enhancing democracy, good governance and accountability.