The three suspects include 64-year-old Kwame Adjei, accused of impregnating his 14-year-old stepdaughter.
He allegedly had multiple sexual intercourse with the stepdaughter whenever the wife is away from the house.
The victim, a form 3 Junior High School student preparing to write Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) delivered two weeks ago.
The two other suspects are teenagers who allegedly locked and defiled two siblings aged 12 and 15 years in a room impregnating the latter.
The police operation was facilitated by Ark Development Organization, a non-for-profit organization implementing an intervention funded by UNICEF dubbed “Safe and Protective Environment for Adolescent Development (SPREAD) with “Cross Your Leg” as campaign slogan to combat alarming teenage pregnancy cases in the district.
Sexual and Gender based violence against minors have become pervasive in Ofoase Ayirebi constituency resulting in high rates of early pregnancy.
The district occupied top position in Eastern region in 2021 but dropped to second position in 2022 regarding teenage pregnancy.
Unfortunately, there is no office for Domestic Violence and Victims Supports Unit (DOVVSU) at Ofoase District Police Command.
DOVVSU unit at Oda Divisional Command oversees Ofoase area, however, has no vehicle to aid its operations.
Executive Director of Ark Development Organization Emmanuel Kwarfo Mintah is worried that DOVVSU is incapacitated by lack of logistics hence sexual, and Gender based violence continue to fester in Ofoase Ayirebi with impunity.
“Looking at the situation we have to do something about it so today we planned to arrest some of the guys so we were able to arrest three guys one from Kwaboadi, an elderly man impregnated JHS people. We’re doing this to deter others from doing that. DOVVSU, they don’t have any logistics to work with. They don’t have vehicle or motorbike, nothing even materials to work with. It is very difficult for them so it is not encouraging to do this operation again because they don’t have vehicle we have to use our own car foot the bills of the victims to come to the police station and all these costs. So, looking at the situation I don’t think they can proceed to deal with the rest of the issues because we have about over 170 issues to address but the means is not there. So, we appeal to government to resource DOVVSU they are doing a very good job but there is no support or logistics to work with” Mr. Kwarfo Minta said
According to the project Officer David Kwaning, out of the one hundred and fifty (153) teenage mothers identified in the Ofoase-Ayirebi constituency in 2022, hundred could not get fathers for their children as men mentioned to be responsible for their pregnancies denied responsibilities.
“We identified 153 adolescent mothers and this year the number is still counting as I speak to you we have about 70 plus teenage mothers.The saddest aspect is that majority of men who got these girls pregnant refused to accept responsibility. In one of the communities a girl was claiming three men were responsible for the pregnancy. She couldn’t identify the particular person who got her pregnant. This situation is worrying. So, in the future they are going to have over 100 children who do not know their fathers” David Kwaning said.
Some residents backed the action of the Police and NGO to arrest men impregnating teenagers in the district.
“The arrest is very important to deter them because what the guys are doing in the community is bad. Impregnating the young girls, especially the okada riders they have been doing that mostly” a parent lamented.
Starr News Eastern Regional Correspondent Kojo Ansah recently uncovered disturbing cases of Sexual and gender based violence against teenage girls in Ofoase-Ayirebi but perpetrators let loose.
The sad stories of these victims begin from a 14 year old from Akyem Anyinase. Her name has been omitted to protect her identity as a school-aged child.
Her life took a horrifying turn when a 60-year-old farmer, exploiting her vulnerability, subjected her to unspeakable abuse. The victim now carrying a six month old baby said cousin of her abuser impregnated her but was aborted by the abuser and his wife. But later, the man forcefully had sexual intercourse with her and became pregnant.
“I relocated from Akyem Anyinase to stay with him(abuser) at Akwatia when my father died. I stopped schooling and went to farm with him. His cousin impregnated me but they aborted it. He sent me a to a Clinic and they gave him some medicine so I drunk one tablet and the wife inserted another into my vagina. Then later the man slept with me at Adwobie community when we go to farm and impregnated me. He threatened me not to tell anyone that if I do he will sent me to the shrine at his hometown to kill me. He brought me back to Akyem Anyinase and abandon me that he is not responsible for the pregnancy because the baby doesn’t look like Him”.
Rejected by her own mother who is a widow, she found a lifeline in the form of a compassionate woman, Abena Ampomaa, who is demanding justice for her.
“I want him to be arrested. How can a 60-year-old man do this to this innocent girl .You have also abandoned her and the baby” Abena Ampomaa insisted.
Another victim, also 14 years old and in class six, had her future abruptly halted by a 20-year-old man who left her with a child at the tender age of 12.
Education became an unattainable dream as she faced the harsh realities of early motherhood.
” Things were difficult for me .My father couldn’t provide what I needed.So I met a certain guy who said he wants us to date so he supports me. I agreed but I ruled out sexual intercourse. One day he lured me into his room and had sex with me which got me pregnant. I was 14 to 15 years. The baby is now 2 years. I want to continue my education outside this community because of stigma but it is difficult for me now the guy is unable to take care of us” said Awurama.
These stories echo the pain endured by young girls in Kwaboadi No. 1 Junior High School, where this 17-year-old aspiring nurse who was nine months pregnant, fights to preserve her ambitions.
“I was Impregnated by a man who decided to take care of me because my mother couldn’t provide my needs. I am now nine months pregnant. I want to be a nurse . I am not happy with my situation. I won’t marry the man”
In the Bontodiase community, two siblings were subjected to the horrifying ordeal of sexual abuse and subsequently impregnated by their abusers. The victims, a 17-year-old third year junior high school student and her 18-year-old sister in first year in senior high school have had their lives forever altered.
The 18-year-old first year Home Economics student of Ofoase Senior High School is facing expulsion from the school as a result of the pregnancy.
“They said they can’t allow a pregnant form one student to be in the school that if I were in form 2 or 3 they would have managed. So I am in the house but after delivery I will continue my education. I want to become a military officer”.
Kwadwo Kwaning, their distressed father, chose not to report the abuse, instead accepting money as out of court settlement, unknowingly perpetuating the cycle of injustice.
In Akyem Akokoaso, two siblings, 15-year-old and 12-year-old girls were abducted by a group of men riding motorcycles, commonly known as okada riders, and subjected to horrifying acts of gang rape within the confines of a single room.
Sadly, the 12-year-old girl, just a child herself, now carries the burden of a five-month pregnancy.
Grandmother of the victims is demanding justice.
“Their mother travelled to Saudi Arabia but suffered stroke before returning to Ghana.so I have been taking care of her two daughters. So it is painful what these Okada people have done to my daughter. Sadly, the mother of the guy is threatening to invoke curse in my daughter if he insists the boy is responsible for the pregnancy” Madam Hagan told Starr News.
Dreams shattered, education abandoned, and futures left hanging by a thread. These girls, once full of hope, now battle against overwhelming odds.
Stephania Amissah Brikorang, In charge of Girl Child Education in the Akyemansa District Education Directorate said most of the abusers are Okada riders. She cited an instance where an Okada rider impregnated three students in same school.
Currently only nine(9) of the BECE candidates are pregnant in the district a marginal success attributed to the SPREAD Project.
“The rate of teenage pregnancy in our district was very high But due to this intervention the rate has reduce so we are praying that the message that we have sent across the children will inculcate so it helps them abstain to reduce teenage pregnancy and then help them in their education. Last year I had 10 BECE candidates pregnant and this year around 8 or 9. The form two students pregnant are very high about 12 in the district”. Stephania Amissah Birikorang said.
The District Education Director, Akua Ayisi said the rising sexual assault incidence points to a deep-rooted issue—poverty which makes girls vulnerable to manipulative abusers.
She said inability of teenage girls to to afford things as basic as sanitary pads can lead to desperate measures that make them vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.
According to the WHO, girls who give birth before adulthood are likely to bear increased health risks, social stigma, and adverse economic impacts for the rest of their lives
The SDG Target 3.7 therefore seeks to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes of countries
A nongovernmental organization, Ark Development Organization and UNICEF have been implementing a two year project dubbed “Safe and Protective Environment for Adolescent Development (SPREAD)” which has been making significant strides in the past two years to combat the pervasive menace of sexual and gender based violence in Akyemansa District.
Project officer of Ark Development Organization David Kwaning revealed a total of 207 teenage mothers were identified from last year to first quarter of 2023, seven of whom supported and sent back to school.
He is hopeful that, by the end of the project this year, teenage pregnancy cases will further drop.
Executive Director of Ark Development organization Emmanuel Kwarfo Minta said public awareness have been created about the negative impact of teenage pregnancy and sexual abuse on teenage girls and the community at large.
He also hinted of efforts to get the involvement of Domestic Violence and Victims Supports Unit (DOVVSU ) to pursue justice for the victims.
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