It appears to be the norm in indigenous Ghanaian homes for cases of rape to be settled at home and among families. This popular communal response to abuse has unfortunately deprived countless survivors the relief of knowing their violator is no longer around to cause them more harm.
An abuse, no matter where and how it is perpetrated or who metes it out should be handled justly as the laws of Ghana prescribe.
Savana Signatures in line with its mission to fight Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) under its Girls’Life Choices project has relentlessly and successfully pushed for the arrest of a 25-year old man who defiled a 2-year old girl at Kunbungu, a district in the Northern Region of Ghana.
According to Ethel Emefa Ehla, the project officer for the Girls’ Life Choices project, issues of rape are often swept under the carpet at the expense of ensuring justice for survivors.
This, she said has increased the impunity of unscrupulous persons and has been the reason behind the recent increasing number of rape cases. Perpetrators were never punished for their heinous acts to deter them or act as a deterrent to others.
“The defilement of the two-year-old girl is a typical example of this since the family opposed the idea of pursuing the case after it got reported to the police. They did go further to frustrate the police in order to uphold that decision at the expense of the lasting psychological and physical damage done to the child”.
Circumstances Leading to his arrest
The 25-year old man Sulemana Danaah was arrested following a report by CITI TV that came to the attention of Savana Signatures where a team of officers followed up on the CITI TV reporter Maxwell Suuk and the family of the victim to ascertain the level of abuse caused.
The team was met with stiff and unwavering opposition. The family of the victim, who proved to have no interest in pursuing the case, were constantly engaged by the officers from Savana Signatures to aid them pursue the case to its logical conclusion.
However, the father of the victim never showed interest and posited that Savana Signatures should not be interested in pursuing the case.
That did not stop the officers from probing further, they contacted the mother and the grandmother of the victim and appealed to their conscience to support in pursuing the case.
After a consensus was met, the officers quickly reported back to the Kumbungu police station in the Northern region and began the medical procedure and had results within 72 hours.
On June 3, 2020, the Police in Kumbungu detained the suspect, Sulemana Danaah for assaulting the two-year-old girl.
Sulemana DanaahPleaded Guilty to the offence of defilement
The Circuit Court in Tamale in the Northern Region on Thursday, June 4, 2020, sentenced Sulemana Danaah to 10 years in prison for defiling the thetwo-year-old girl.
The Chief inspector Victor Kwafo, who is the prosecutor of the case said, the minor was playing with her colleagues at the Suniya Primary School in Kumbungu on June 1, 2020, where the suspect; a driver’s mate, went and lured her inside one of the classrooms and defiled her.
The suspect was put before His Honour William Appiah Twumasi where he pleaded guilty to the offence of defilement. He was convicted after the charge was read by the prosecutor.
Savana Signatures Officers who were present at the court sitting said the conviction of the accused, Sulemana Danaah would serve as a deterrent to others and they would not hesitate to bring to justice any issue surrounding SGBV.
Similar incidents occur which are often swept under the carpet which posits that individuals and organisations should emulate or join forces with Savana Signatures to collectively provide a safer environment for our children and the vulnerable population of Ghana.
“It is our duty as a society to ensure the safety of our children. It falls on each and every one of us. Imagine the other damages this young man would cause if he is left to roam the street. Our silence around sexual violence has to stop. And it is only when we speak out that these evil persons lurking around us would understand that this would no longer be tolerated” Emefa, Girls’ Life Choices project officer urges.