I am a 21 year old student of a reputable school here in Ghana. I am the first of three children in a family of five. Growing up we had lots of family coming and living with us for various lengths of time and for various reasons. We had cousins who came to live with us to be supported by my parents through school. We had uncles and aunties who came to visit but never seem to leave🙄. My parents are middle-class earners but have thought us through their actions to learn to share even the little we have. There was a particular family friend who seemed to like me very much. He would call me his wife and we all just laugh about it. Sometimes my mum would even ask me to help him ran errands when the wife travels. It was one of such days at the age of 14 that the unforgettable happened😭. While I went to help him with some errands, he feigned illness and was in his bedroom all along. After I was about to leave, he asked me to come over. I went in and he asked me to sit on his bed. Just as I did, he jumped out of his bed, locked the room, and forcibly had sex with me😱.  He threatened me not to tell anyone. He said if I did, I would die. When I got home, I tried to tell my mother but didn’t have the courage to do so😫.

In recent times, I noticed regular boils in my armpit. Sometimes they go away on their own, other times I go for over the counter medication. Two weeks ago, I developed a painful rash on my back. I went to a hospital and upon seeing the doctor he diagnosed Herpes Zoster aka shingles aka Ananse. In his work up for me, I had to test for HIV and the results came out positive. I am broken. I am devastated and I feel my life has come to an end😢.

Sexual Assault

Defined as “the action or an act of forcing an unconsenting person to engage in sexual activity” Oxford Dictionary. It includes penetrative and non-penetrative. Sexual assault may be rape or attempted rape. Today I will concentrate on rape.

It is the unlawful sexual activity and usually sexual intercourse carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against a person’s will or with a person who is beneath a certain age or incapable of valid consent because of mental illness, mental deficiency, intoxication, unconsciousness, or deception-Merriam Webster dictionary (kyerese… it encompass a whole lot of actions 🙃)

THE DOS

Report immediately to the hospital. The hospital should and must be the first point of call💯.

At the hospital.

A history of events will be taken by the doctor and the police informed. Tell your story as it is without fear or favour.✅ The doctor will document everything you say and then examine you. He examines first your physical appearance and demeanor, your mental state, and then an examination of your private parts with your consent and a chaperon (a nurse or another doctor to be a witness of the examination process). Every finding is also documented, from thorn underwear, bruises, cuts, evidence of penetration, collection of blood, semen, etc. Pictures are even sometimes recommended as evidence to the police.

Laboratory investigations are then ordered immediately including HIV. The victim is then offered Post Exposure Prophylaxis against HIV. She/he is also most importantly referred to a clinical psychologist for further assessment and management.

THE DON’TS

  1. Don’t take a bath before reporting to the hospital👎🏾. All the possible evidence may be washed away.
  2. Don’t report after one week. It may be too late to find any evidence of force entry
  3. Don’t report after three days❌, the PEP is not effective after three days. The best time to take PEP is within 24hrs to 72hrs after the exposure to the virus.
  4. Don’t opt for home settlement(never ever🙏🏾 )the perpetrators must be made to face the law to deter others and to protect others.
  5. Don’t be ashamed or afraid to report. You don’t deserve it even if you were naked before the perpetrator.

My advice to parents

  1. Both boys and girls can be sexually assaulted. Shine your eyes and ears. Watch out for signs and listen to them when they talk.
  2. Don’t encourage people addressing your children as boyfriends, girlfriends, wives, or husbands.🙅🏾‍♀️
  3. Let the children know there are bad people out there and they must tell you about every inappropriate conversation and touch🧐.
  4. Avoid calling your children bad boys or girls when they tell you about inappropriate touches or conversations🤨.
  5. Don’t brush away any report of such. Look into it, please.

Until I come your way again next time, don’t be ignorant of the happenings around you. Keep safe and Mask up.

XoXo

Hectoria🥰

23 COMMENTS

  1. Great write up Dr. To even make it easier for prosecution of SGBV cases, DOVVSU will soon be launching a multi purpose center at the the Ghana police headquarters in Accra that will house all the facilities required in the process. ie clinic, lab, etc and two courts which are child friendly.

    The Judicial Service of Ghana has also established GBV courts in 9 regions in ghana which have been made child friendly with the main aim of providing a conducive atmosphere for especially children who are victims /witnesses /offenders to render accurate testimonies which are the key evidences needed inorder for the Judge to give the appropriate punishment to the perpetrators.

    Currently the child friendly GBVCs are being extended to the newly created 6 regions to make gender justice more accessible to the citizenry.

    So Let’s encourage people to report these cases. It is a criminal matter and must not be settled at home.

    Let’s let our fellow women know through such beautiful write ups like Dr. Hectoria’s and other avenues like salons, women’s ministry meetings and so on… That the systems are now being refined and reporting such cases aren’t that cumbersome anymore.

    Well done Dr. 😍

  2. Bless you sis. This matter with family friends…..hmmm. I pray for wisdom and strength for parents to build a solid relationship of trust with their children such that they can freely and willingly tell them whatever comes their way. We need to teach our girls not to be too trusting though regardless.

  3. It’s very important to always encourage our children not to be afraid to tell you everything that goes on in their life.

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