Tuesday, 17th October 2017  we were at Dialogue Genitalia at the ETS drama studio, University of Ghana, Legon. The theme for the open forum was ‘Men as victims of sexual abuse’. The event was designed to ‘provide a safe space for members of the opposite sex to discuss sexuality and reproductive health issues’. Judging from the many submissions made and questions asked by the young men in the audience, it is safe to say that the event was indeed a safe space for them to air their views. 

 

It was particularly refreshing when the panel was introduced. It had a mixture of people of various backgrounds all relevant to the theme of the event. It wouldn’t be too far-fetched to state that everybody who was present left there with at least a question or two that bothered them prior to attending the meeting answered.

The Dialogue Genitalia Team

 

The brain behind the event is  Dr. Angela Gyasi Gyamerah. She deserves a lot of commendation for the work she is doing together with her team. On the panel, she was flanked to her right by a police officer from DOVVSU, a lawyer, a law student and a researcher. The discussion was very insightful because each of the panelists drew from their well of experience and expertise in their individual submissions. It wasn’t a lecture but an open forum hence the audience were given ample opportunity to ask questions and also express their frustrations at some social norms and practices that make it difficult for boys to speak up when abused. One question ran through most of the submissions by the members of the audience: why is the term ‘rape’ gender-specific? Anastasia Hammond, a law student and a panelist, had stated that, per the laws of Ghana, ‘rape is gender-specific, age-specific and organ-specific’. She went on to explain that when a guy is abused sexually it is classified as ‘sexual assault’ and if he was penetrated anally, ‘Unnatural Carnal knowledge’. Maame Esi Peterson, a researcher, and a panelist also stated that some other countries have made ‘rape’ applicable both in sexual assault cases against men and women and these countries have made some remarkable strides in Sexual and Reproductive Health issues. It would be very helpful if Ghana was able to make progress in this regard and also for Ghanaians to be sensitized enough to take sexual abuse cases more seriously no matter who is reporting it. 

 

Find below some tweets on last Tuesday’s Dialogue Genitalia event:

 

 

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