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45.7% of SHS girls between age 11 and 16 sexually assaulted from 2019 to 2021 – report



A report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Girls Excellent Movement (GEM) has revealed 45.7% of female students in Senior High School (SHS) between the ages of 11 and 16 were sexually assaulted.

The report, titled: “Sheltered yet Exposed,“ said 54.3% of those girls were between the ages of 17 and 22.

The act of sexual harassment in SHS is often perpetrated by various individuals, including friends, family friends, schoolmates, teachers, and strangers, according to a report. The breakdown of those involved is as follows: friends (24%), family friends (12%), schoolmates (12%), teachers (10%), and strangers (9%).

Madam Juliana Ama Kplorfia, Founder and Executive Director of GEM, disclosed these findings at a stakeholder engagement event held in Accra. The event, organized by the Center for Social Justice (CSJ) with support from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Ghana, aimed to address sexual harassment in SHS and the roles of various stakeholders.

Madam Kplorfia further revealed that other groups contributing to sexual assault against female students in SHS included uncles, cousins, neighbors, fathers, and father-in-laws.

The report also highlighted that besides sexual assaults, female students also experienced other forms of gender-based violence, such as physical assault, bullying, verbal assault, and harassment.

Madam Kplorfia emphasized that the main reasons females fell victim to these various forms of assault were academic, financial, and mental challenges. She noted that many victims suffered from depression, trauma, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and panic attacks, which sometimes led to them dropping out of school.

She called on the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service to adequately resource the counseling units in schools to effectively address these issues. Madam Kplorfia also urged parents and guardians to closely monitor female students in schools and ensure they had positive role models, as some became targets of sexual assaults due to negative influences.

Furthermore, she appealed to the government to make medical reports for rape and sexual harassment free of charge and advocated for the removal of taxes on sanitary pads, suggesting that they should be supplied to schools at no cost.

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