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Just In: 52% of females in SHS sexually assaulted in 2 years – UNICEF and GEM

Parliamentary Support Grows for Postponing SHS Reopening Date – Nortsu-Kotoe

A recent report co-published by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Girls Excellent Movement (GEM) has unveiled concerning statistics regarding instances of sexual assault against female students in Senior High Schools (SHS) spanning the years 2019 to 2021.

Entitled ‘Sheltered yet Exposed,’ this report exposes that during this time frame, 51.9% of female SHS students endured incidents of sexual assault.

Metro Lens

The report further highlights that of these victims, 54.3% were aged between 17 and 22, while 45.7% were in the 11 to 16 age bracket.

Various individuals were identified as perpetrators of these offenses, encompassing friends, family friends, schoolmates, teachers, and strangers.

The breakdown revealed friends at 24%, family friends at 12%, schoolmates at 12%, teachers at 10%, and strangers at 9% as the respective categories of offenders.

In addition to sexual assaults, the report brings attention to other forms of gender-based violence experienced by female SHS students, including physical assault, bullying, verbal abuse, and harassment.

Madam Juliana Ama Kplorfia, the Founder and Executive Director of GEM, presented these findings during a stakeholder engagement event in Accra.

She emphasized that the academic, financial, and mental challenges often rendered female students vulnerable to such forms of abuse.

According to Madam Kplorfia, the repercussions of these abuses include depression, trauma, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and panic attacks, which may lead some victims to drop out of school.

She called upon the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service to allocate resources for counseling units in schools to effectively address these issues.

Furthermore, Madam Kplorfia urged parents and guardians to closely supervise their daughters while they are in school and provide them with positive role models.

She also advocated for the government to make medical reports for cases of rape and sexual harassment free of charge and to eliminate taxes on sanitary pads while providing free sanitary pads to schools.

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