The Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC) wishes to add its voice in roundly condemning the despicable act of sexual violence perpetrated against the four-year old girl in Adadientem in the Assin Municipality in the Central Region. We call on the Government, the relevant State agencies, like the Police, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and civil society to take action to ensure the protection of our children, especially the girl-child.
The Council is appalled by the initial slow response of the Police Service in Assin-Fosu on this matter until the intervention of the media. But we are happy to note that the Police have now taken some action in arresting the culprit and putting him before court. We only hope that the case will be prosecuted to its logical legal conclusion. Priding ourselves as being the first country to sign the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and yet unable to adequately protect the girl-child from the most heinous of crimes such as defilement is a serious indictment on us collectively as a nation.
We have collectively as a nation watched unconcerned over the years while sexual violence against our women and children go unreported, especially in the rural areas where institutions of state such as the Police and Social Welfare, clothed with the responsibility to protectus are either not present or woefully inadequately resourced to professionally handle their protection mandates.
In the absence of these institutions in the community, ignorant community leaders, including chiefs have arrogated to themselves the roles of prosecutors and judges, taking decisions on purely criminal matters in utter disregard to the law as in the case of this 4-year old girl where the local chief had already pronounced the innocence of the alleged perpetrator of this criminal act.
From media sources, we are also learning that cases of unreported rape and defilement are rampant in the Adadientem community, with perpetrators often left off the hook by community leaders, leaving the victims, often minors with no avenues for legal redress.
While the case of this 4-year old girl is roundly condemned by all, we should as a nation collectively resolve that no longer should we pretend to be acting to protect our children when we are not committed to implementing the numerous laws and conventions we have signed over the years.
As we call on government to show commitment to providing the needed resources to the relevant state agencies to implement the relevant laws, we as a Council are willing and committed to collaborate with government, the relevant state institutions, the media and other civil society actors to sponsor as well as use the Church as a platform to carry out civic education on our collective responsibilities in protecting our children and women against Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) at all levels of the society.
Meanwhile, the Council is also calling on government, through the Ministry of Gender and Social Protection to as a matter of urgency take steps to remove all obstacles that prevent victims of SGBV from reporting to the Police, including the provision of adequate budgetary allocations to the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit of the Ghana Police Service throughout the country to fully operationalize all provisions for support services to victims of SGBV under the Domestic Violence Law.
The Council is particularly worried about the financial burden often imposed on SGBV victims to pay for their Police Medical Reports, which has become deterrent to many victims willing to report to the Police due to financial constraints.
The GPCC wishes to finally call on all stakeholders and the general public, including the media to remain resolute in our fight against violence, especially against women and children at all levels of the society. God bless us all and make our nation great and strong.
Long Live Ghana!
Apostle Prof. Opoku Onyinah
Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council
NB: You may contact Rev. Emmanuel Barrigah, General Secretary of the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council on these numbers:0208232694 or 0242703772