I have been sad, confused and angry. Sad that girls 10-14 years have or will bear the troubles of pregnancy, labor and child care. How is a child the mother of a child? I am confused asking just how these children got pregnant. I am angry because they would not have been impregnated by children but grown men, mostly.
I am sad thinking they would and may never return to school, school that’s free to empower them for a better future. I am confused asking what parents and guardians could have done to prevent this. I am angry thinking society has failed these children. I am sad, confused and angry knowing the near one hundred and ten thousand teenagers who got pregnant in 2020 may not be the full picture as these are only those that reported to the hospital or hospitals where Ghana Health’s DHIMS could get the data.
I am sad, confused and angry that only the Finder newspaper seems to have found this newsworthy. Almost 18,000 of these girls are from Ashanti, about 11, 000 from Eastern, followed by Central with some 10,000 and then Accra and Northern accounting for a little over 9,000 each. Guess what, this is actually 11.7% decline from the previous year’s record.
What happened to our law that the age for consent to sexual intercourse is from 16 years, and having sex with a girl below 16 years even with her consent or lack of knowledge of her age is the crime of defilement punished by 7-25 years imprisonment? International law and ours stress the welfare or best interest of the child principle must be upheld always.
Who is ensuring this, parents, schools, churches or mosques? How long can we watch almost unconcerned and find it almost normal for almost 3,000 girls between ages 10-14 to be violated and be saddled with being mothers?
Ghana, almost 200,000 or more of your teenage girls cannot be subjected to this each year. Where is moral society? Do you think Sir Sam Jonah was wrong about us when the media will troop to provide national coverage for a fraud and charlatan Agradaa or give live coverage to a so called celebrity who gets punished for admitting to abusing her child?
She got such a lenient sentence which may now punished by custodial sentence of more than 20 years. Who gets such media attention for merely securing bail?
How many of these girls were so terribly influenced by so called celebrities without manners to think they needed an expensive phone to take and display their not half but near full-naked bodies on social media leading to this? But assuming only about half – 50,000 of these girls are below age 16, do we have even 10,000 of the men who violated them facing the law or in jail?
The few that may have been reported to police, did some parent, elder, pastor, Imam or so called big man in the city intervene to plead for the matter to be settled at home? Has a wife not lost her marriage for insisting on the law taking its course?
How many police officers or lawyers tried to frustrate the process and how media guys didn’t take money from a “big man” child-violator to “kill the story”, and was some judge too compromised? That’s my take and your legal light.
Credit: Samson Lardy ANYENINI
Editor’s Note: Samson Lardy ANYENINI is a Ghanaian lawyer and journalist who works for Multimedia Ghana’s Joy Fm. He hosts Joynews and Joy FM’s weekend current affairs news analysis Newsfile programme. He won the category of Best Journalist for 2019 GIJ Annual Awards.