On Saturday, the 15th of June, 2018, The Safe Space Foundation organized a sexual assault and violence awareness conference at the British Council. The conference was organized purposely to shape the minds of people on sexual assault and gender-based violence, get them to understand what victims of gender-based violence go through and contribute to abating the status quo.
Speakers at the event were; Honorable Della Sowah, (MP for Kpando Constituency), Dr.Carol Mathias, (Educational Psychologist), Mr. Edmund Foley, (Head of Department for GIMPA, Public Law Faculty), Miss Esther Armah (CASA Ghana), Miss Akosua Hanson (Founder of Drama Queens), Miss Akua Akwereba (COO of 360Lifestyle) and Mr. Andrew Saminl (Founder of Obimbra Foundation).
The sessions had all speakers touch on issues concerning sexual assault and violence in our society. Madam Della Sowah, shared some sexual assault stories she has had to deal with as a counselor. She expressed that, the Ghanaian culture of keeping sexual assault cases private instead of seeking redress was not a good way of tackling sexual assault and violence cases.
Miss Esther Armah also admonished participants to tell the stories of sexual assault and violence just as it happens based on facts instead of framing it based on selfish interest. She encouraged all present, to give a listening ear to victims of sexual assault when they speak up and offer help in whatever way to the victims.
The issue of consent culture was also addressed by Miss Akosua Hanson. She pointed out the need for individuals to respect the sexual rights of others and not forcefully have their way with them. She further went on to explain that, society must embrace the “culture of consent” where there is belief, harmony and love in the way people relate with each other.
Miss Maame Akua Akwereba said that orientation on sexuality should start from the home through dialogue and negotiation. She believes that considering this will teach boys and girls how to dominate their space so that they will not be either perpetrators or victims of sexual assault and violence. Mr. Edmund Foley, the HOD of GIMPA Law School also spelled out the provisions of the law that protects the rights of victims of sexual assault and violence. He encouraged all gathered there at the event to help protect the rights of victims based on the provisions made in the laws of Ghana and also ensure that perpetrators are punished for their deeds.
Founder of Obimbra Foundation, Mr. Andrew Samini also talked on the causes of domestic violence and the preventive measures to be put in place in order to stop the menace. He said that his Foundation will do its best possible to contribute to improving the status quo of sexual assault and violence in our society.
The next session had Dr. Carol Mathias, an Educational Psychologist who talked about the implications on the psychological health of victims. She advised for victims to speak up to a confidante about their experience and not to keep quiet. She added that, speaking up is another form of healing early and as such, when one finds himself or herself in any form of sexual assault or violence, he or she must be confident to get professional help. Also as part of the session was a panel discussion by some of the keynote speakers who answered questions that asked by some participants.
The conference was a successful one because of the wealth of knowledge that was shared, there is no doubt participants gained much insight on how issues of sexual assault and violence must be dealt with.