Some women in Sirigu, a farming community in the Upper East Region’s Kassena-Nankana West District, are afraid of losing their husbands to attractive young women.
According to them, since the community’s custom prohibits married women from dressing provocatively, their husbands are neglecting them in favor of young ladies who dress provocatively with the intent of snatching their husbands.
“Our husbands are looking at the small girls in the village more than their wives. The reason is that, nowadays, the ladies, the way they dress is different from we the married women. Because we cannot dress like an unmarried woman, our husbands feel the way the girls dress so they go to them and leave us”, Jessica Ayerikia lamented.
But in an attempt to deny their husbands sex as a way of punishment due to their “unfaithfulness”, Mrs. Ayerikia who say they get abused sexually by their partners added that the situation is contributing to divorces in the community.
“In marriage, sex is important. So if you ignore me every day and you go there to free yourself there without coming to me, we may divorce”, she stated.
Another woman, Martha Anaaya recounts the sexual abuses women in the community encounters at the hands of their spouses.
“A man can return home from a funeral ground drank and without bathing, he will want to have sex with you. And when you refuse him sex, maybe you are tired or you are menstruating, he will start beating you and saying your body belongs to him. When that happens to a lady, that lady will always feel shy to tell somebody that my husband beats me last night because I refuse to have sex with him. We always keep it and it is killing us emotionally.”
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This was revealed during the Presbyterian Health Service’s launch of the “Equal Rights and Opportunities for Women and Girls” project (EROP) at Sirigu.
The project is being implemented in three assemblies in the Upper East Region: Kassena-Nankana West District, Talensi District, and Bolgatanga Municipal. The Dutch Embassy, through the Ghana Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights Alliance, is funding the one-year project.
The EROP project, according to Frederick Mensah, Project Officer for the Presbyterian Health creative project, aims to inspire women and girls to stand up to sexual and gender-based abuse.