General News of Saturday, 12 December 2020
Parents of young children, especially girls, have been advised to pay close attention to changes in moods and behavior of their wards, since it could be exposing some form of abuses they might be experiencing.
According to Mr Niyi Ojuolape, the Country Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), out of fear and trauma, most victims of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), begin to show various moods and behaviours that may contradict their original personalities, and that parents and guardians who remained vigilant, could tactically draw the women and children closer to encourage them to open up and talk.
Mr Ojuolape, gave the advice at an art exhibition organised by the UNFPA in Accra, to climax the 16 Days of Activism against SGBV, which was part of an extensive annual global campaign to create awareness, educate, and influence policy changes on these issues.
He stated that SGBV continued to be a devastating silent pandemic that was widespread within the country, and called for a collective force of attack from its root, in order to achieve total elimination.
He explained that the exhibition was therefore used as a platform to throw more light on cases of violence, using picture and painting to tell stories of the pain and abuses that victims go through, while encouraging others to share their experiences through art which was a universal language.
He thanked the youth for their full participation in the campaign and for expressing their enthusiasm to fight against SGBV.
Mr Ojuolape said the UNFPA was already partnering the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) and other Civil Society Organisations, to present a united front to address the menace, and urged members of the public to speak up by immediately reporting incidences of SGBV to the appropriate authorities, to save the lives of victims and bring the perpetrators to book.
Dr Afisah Zakariah, the Chief Director of the Gender Ministry, also admitted the fact that many people especially, the youth had been victims of SGBV, and thanked the UNFPA for using art as a new language and technique to showcase the plight of victims of SGBV.
She said SGBV was deeply rooted in communities across the country, referring to it as a “silent crisis in society,” because most cultures did not to encourage reporting, and therefore called on all stakeholders to work together to eradicate the menace to ensure peaceful co-existence and the total development of women and children.
Dr Agnes Ntibanyurwa, the Deputy Country Representative, UNFPA, added her voice to earlier calls for enhanced stakeholder partnership in expanding advocacy on SGBV, saying “enough is enough; let us be champions to speak up and spread the word and fight against SGBV”.
She indicated that although the 16 days of intense campaigning was over, widespread information on SGBV should continue globally so that victims wherever they may be, could get the right education on what constituted such forms of abuses in order to overcome them.
The event, was also marked with a panel discussion by the UNFPA’s Youth Leaders including; Mr Olawele Oloya , an artiste, Mr George Koranteng, a visual artists, and Mr Julius Kofi Mortis, a professional photographer, who collectively agreed in the uses of art as a modern tool, which was easily accessible and attractive to all, particularly young people.
They called upon all the colleagues in the visual arts and music industry to consider the collective use of art to highlight the need for enhanced education on SGBV and to direct victims to the appropriate channels for reporting cases of abuses.
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