More Than 50% Of SHS Female Students Are Sexually Assaulted

A report jointly published by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Girls Excellent Movement (GEM) has revealed a shocking statistics regarding sexual assault against female students in Senior High Schools (SHS) between 2019 and 2021.

The report, named ‘Sheltered yet Exposed’, says 51.9% of female students in SHS experienced sexual assault during this period. It further added that 54.3% of these casualties were between the ages of 17 and 22, while 45.7% were aged between 11 and 16 years.

The report reveals that these acts are done by various perpetrators, including friends, family friends, schoolmates, teachers, and strangers.

Friends represented highest rate at 24%, followed by family friends at 12%, classmates at 12%, teachers at 10%, and outsiders or strangers at 9%.

In addition to sexual assaults, the report also revealed that female students in SHS experienced other forms of gender-based violence, such as physical assault, bullying, verbal abuse, and harassment.

These discoveries were shared by Juliana Ama Kplorfia, the Founder and Executive Director of GEM, during a stakeholder engagement event in Accra. Besides this, she noted that academic, financial, and mental challenges often made female students vulnerable to these forms of abuse.

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The impact of such abuses, according to Mrs. Kplorfia, includes depression, trauma, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and panic attacks, which can lead some victims to drop out of school. She called on the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service to provide resources for counselling units in schools to effectively address these issues.

Mrs. Kplorfia also encouraged guardians and gatekeepers to intently monitor their daughters while in school and furnish them with positive good examples.

She called for the government to make medical reports for rape and sexual harassment-free and advocated for the elimination of taxes on sanitary pads, with the provision of free sanitary pads to schools.

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