G-lish Foundation’s International Day Of Peace And Cease Fire activities included a discussion on domestic violence and how it affects the individual. This topic was chosen from the “Who Will You Make Peace With?” theme which underpinned Peace One Day, 2013 events globally. Domestic violence is also a serious problem in the community of Dulugu, G-lish’s core village. Afterwards the youth played a football match dubbed “Match of Peace” between Dulugu Junior High School Team and Dulugu Community Youth Team.
Ambrose A. Atogyake, G-lish Foundation’s Program Manager, led the day and facilitated the discussion on domestic violence.
He started with quotes:
“If you want to make peace with your enemy you have to work with your enemy, then he becomes your partner.” By Nelson Mandela.
Ambrose gave a brief history of the international day of peace. It was established by resolution 36/67 of the United Nations General Assembly in 1981, and strengthened by resolution 55/282 in 2001, to designate September 21st as the official day of international peace. The day coincides with the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly.
The discussion on domestic violence centered on:
- participants’ understanding of domestic violence;
- how domestic violence has affected them or people in the community;
- their advice to adults.
Participants were mainly youth. Ambrose asked them about their understanding and their experiences. These are the responses:
One youth gave a definition of domestic violence as, “a situation in the family where the man and the woman are unable to live together in peace either because they are fighting or quarrelling among themselves resulting in their children not being able to concentrate in school thus drawing them back in their education”.
Another participant said that domestic violence affects every member of the family in varying ways. On the part of children he said that if children see their parents fighting all the time they become emotionally disturbed and are therefore not be able to concentrate in school. He further said domestic violence was a very common occurrence in the community and didn’t understand why a man and a woman would marry in love and later become violent towards each other. He advised parents to continue to love each other so as to avoid treating each other violently. He added that parents should also be patient towards each other in order to avoid violence on each other or on their children.
One other participant said that domestic violence has to do with a person abusing close relations such as family members (husband or wife and children). He added that victims of domestic violence are affected in various ways: physical injuries through beating or fighting, emotional injuries through verbal attacks such as quarrels and insults, and economic abuse.
He gave an account of a case where a child was whipped with an electric cable by her father for taking GH₵1.00 (50 cents) without asking permission. He confirmed that it was very common in the community to see couples physically fighting or quarrelling, resulting in the children from such families not doing well in school or dropping out of school all together. The participant advised adults to avoid violence in their families in order to promote peace in the family, the community, the country and the world as a whole.
A female participant narrated a case of domestic violence where hot sand was forced into the mouth of a girl by her step mother for bed-wetting. The girl sustained very serious burns in the mouth which took several weeks to heal. The end result was that the girl dropped out of school. The participant added her voice to the advice to adults to maintain peace and harmony in their families in order to avoid physical injuries and to promote their children’s education.
A young teacher in the community narrated a case of domestic violence where an intelligent female pupil of the community school had to drop out of school due physical abuse in her family. He said the girl had absented herself from school for a number of days, so the teachers looked for her. When she came, she told them that her father had been beating the mother and, for fear of further beatings, the mother left the family and the girl was also warned by her father not to come to school again, hence her absence from school. On the girl’s return to the house, she was beaten up by the father for telling them what had been going on in the family. Out of fear the girl also ran away from the father to join the mother. He alluded to the fact that the issue of domestic violence was a common occurrence in the community and they, as teachers, witness it very frequently. He advised parents to exercise patience in resolving issues in the family either than resorting to violence especially the beating of those members of the family who are not strong.
G-lish Foundation has intended to address domestic violence from the outset, when it began operating in 2010. In 2014 we will carry out our first peace and conflict workshops with adults, which will centre on violence in the home and how to reduce it, as well as in the broader community.
MATCH OF PEACE:
Dulugu Junior High School team and Dulugu Community Youth team.
The selection of the two teams was to get the maximum involvement of the school children who are the future leaders in peace activities so that they might understand the need for peace in their families and the larger society.
from the Junior High School team wore green jerseys while those from the Community Youth team were in yellow jerseys. The match kicked off at about 9:00 am. Though the match was a peace match, both teams were determined to win.
At the end of the first half the scores stood at one all. The teams came in for the second half more determined, but neither side could find the net, so the match ended one all. The game went into penalty shoot-out. Dulugu Youth team emerged victor over the Junior High School team.
Ambrose expressed his gratitude to the players as well as the match officials and funs for making time to honour the activities. He then presented one new football each to the two teams.