Notes to broadcasters
Gender-based violence is an act, or the threat of an act, that causes physical, psychological /emotional, economic, or sexual pain or injury to a person because of that person’s gender.
The increasing reports of physical and spousal abuse to the police led the Ghana Police Administration in 1998 to establish the Women and Juvenile Unit (WAJU), which is now called DOVVSU (Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit), a specialized unit that handles crimes against women and children. The enactment of the Domestic Violence Act 2007 and the Legislative Instrument in 2016 by the government of Ghana have also helped to tackle domestic violence in Ghana.
In spite of the existence of DOVVSU, Ghana still faces increased reports of domestic violence because there are inadequate essential services to address it, including social services, educational, and health services. For example, victims of domestic violence must pay for medical fees though they are supposed to be free; there are limited DOVVSU offices and staff at the district and community levels; there are limited shelter facilities for abused women; and the degree of ignorance about domestic violence allows perpetrators to go unpunished in some circumstances.
The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened pre-existing gender inequalities and power hierarchies. To prevent widespread transmission of the virus, there have been quarantines, lockdowns, restrictions on movement, and bans on public gatherings. While these measures are important for public health, they have led to increased occurrences of sexual and gender-based violence in communities and among vulnerable people.
Coupled with limited access to essential services such as shelters and hotlines, this has created a situation where gender-based violence is thriving in many communities in Ghana. These challenges make it necessary to educate people of Ghana on gender-based violence, so that the abused are aware of the services available to them, and the necessary steps they need to take in order to free themselves and get justice.
In this fictional drama, Foriwaa and her children are subject to abuse from Foriwaa’s husband, Daniel, who, after losing a percentage of his salary due to the COVID-19 pandemic, takes out his frustrations on his wife and children.
He tries to marry off his under-aged daughter to make money, and he takes advantage of the lockdown situation to abuse his wife. This play depicts the horror of abuse in the home, the effect it has on children, and the need to report perpetrators in abusive situations.
This drama contains five scenes, varying in length from 4-7 minutes.
Duration of the entire drama, with intro and outro: 30 minutes.
music for one second and then the following audio message
In these days of the COVID-19 pandemic, where people find themselves in the same space for a longer period of time, the chances of gender-based violence are likely to rise, but we must desist from inflicting such pain on our loved ones. Gender-based violence inflicts a lot of suffering and damage, it destroys a person’s self-esteem, and can cripple them physically and mentally.
Beloved listeners, rape, early marriage, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, and physical, mental, and emotional abuse are all forms of gender-based violence. These are all forms of abuse that are punishable by law and perpetrators must be arrested and brought to book.
If you know of any person who is currently experiencing any kind of gender-based violence during this pandemic, please do not keep quiet. Report such cases at the nearest police station, or call these available help lines for help: *3390# or *12i4. (Editor’s note: These are “fictional” help line numbers. You may want to insert the number of a real help line in your area, with the permission of the organization that operates the help line.)
Mothers, grandmothers, brothers, sisters, neighbours, let’s all be each other’s keepers. Reach out and help women in your area, your compound, or your neighbourhood. Dear survivor, do not be afraid to ask for help. Stay home, stay safe, and say NO to this shadow pandemic—say NO to gender-based violence!
Beep. SIG TUNE PLAYS
Daniel, this letter isn’t a jail sentence. At DOVVSU, you may get the chance to go and settle this issue with your family, or your case may be referred to the Alternative Dispute Resolution Unit, depending on the degree of offense. It depends on whether your wife is willing to give you a second chance or not. But you should understand that you will be prosecuted if it is deemed necessary, regardless of whether your wife decides to bring charges or not. So, you better be on your best behaviour after today.
This is also a plea to all who are being abused or mistreated in any way … Please, do not stay silent. Report perpetrators irrespective of their relations to you. It’s the only way you can be freed from such oppression. We must all be each others keepers and foster peace, unity, and love amongst ourselves.
Contributed by: Abena Dansoa Ofori Amankwa, script writer and Director at Eagles Roar Creatives.
Reviewed by: Lillian Bruce, Executive Director, Development and Land Solutions Consults (DALS Consult), Accra, Ghana
Caroline Montpetit, Regional Program Manager, West Africa, & Gender Equality Advisor, Farm Radio International, June 2020.
Lillian Bruce, Executive Director, Development and Land Solutions Consults (DALS Consult), Accra, Ghana, June 2020
Nana Awindo, Ghanaian journalist and advocate on gender issues and domestic violence, June 2020.
Stephanie Donu, Project Officer, Solidaridad Ghana, June 2020.
Lois Aduamuah, Programme Officer, Women in Law and Development (WILDAF) in Ghana, August-September, 2020.
Joseph Howe Cole, Ghana Police Service, June and August, 2020.
Mrs. Josephine Kwao, Police Officer, Odorkor DOVVSU Division, August, 2020.
Jeltsen, M., 2020. Home Is Not A Safe Place For Everyone. Huffington Post, March 12, 2020. https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/domestic-violence-coronavirus_n_5e6a6ac1c5b6bd8156f3641b?ri18n=true
Landis, D., 2020. Gender-based violence (GBV) and COVID-19: The complexities of responding to “the shadow pandemic.” A Policy brief: May 2020. CARE. https://reliefweb.int/report/world/gender-based-violence-and-covid-19-complexities-responding-shadow-pandemic-may-2020
Laouan, F. Z., 2020. Rapid Gender Analysis – COVID-19: West Africa–April 2020. CARE. https://insights.careinternational.org.uk/media/k2/attachments/CARE-West-Africa-Rapid-Gender-Analysis-COVID-19-May-2020.pdf
SD Direct, 2020. Why we need to talk more about the potential for COVID-19 to increase the risk of violence against women and girls. http://www.sddirect.org.uk/news/2020/03/why-we-need-to-talk-more-about-the-potential-for-covid-19-to-increase-the-risk-of-violence-against-women-and-girls/
UNFPA (United Nations Fund for Population Activities), 2020. Developing Key Messages for Communities on GBV & COVID-19: Preliminary Guidance from the GBV AoR, updated 7 April 2020. https://gbvaor.net/sites/default/files/2020-04/GBV%20AoR_key%20messages_Covid%20%26%20GBV.pdf
Wangqing, Z., 2020. Domestic Violence Cases Surge During COVID-19 Epidemic. Sixth Tone. http://www.sixthtone.com/news/1005253/domestic-violence-cases-surge-during-covid-19-epidemic
Yasmin, S., 2016. The Ebola Rape Epidemic No One’s Talking About. Foreign Policy. https://foreignpolicy.com/2016/02/02/the-ebola-rape-epidemic-west-africa-teenage-pregnancy/
This resource is undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada.