Blog Post 4: Violence Against Women in Ghana- Katherine Phillips

As a concept, violence is easier to identify and point out than define, its susceptibility to the  influence of culture, time, geography and space results in a varying definition(Amoakohene 2004).  Violence against women is undoubtedly a global phenomenon and has over the past three decades occupied a central position in international discourse (Salam 2011).  Violence against women has gained worldwide currency in both advanced and deprived economies due to its pervasive and debilitating nature (Amoakohene 2004). Violence against women throughout their life cycle is a manifestation of the historically unequal power relations between men and women. It is perpetuated by traditional and customary practices that accord women lower status in the family, workplace, community, and society (Salam 2011 (United Nations 2010)).   In my country of choice Ghana reports reveal that it is amongst the countries that records the highest levels of gender based violence including physical, psychological, economic, and sexual abuse (Salam 2011).  In the Ghanaian society, women are subjected to discriminatory cultural practices that expose them to the violent tendencies of their male counterpart (Salam 2011).  The most interesting thing I found out while reading this article was  the reports of abuse of the women in higher education and how lecturers would demand sexual favors in order for them to be able to pass a marking period. Also in this article it talks about sexual harassment within the working environment and that a whopping 74% of females experience this.  (Salam 2011)

Another big aspect of violence against women is intimate partner violence   which can include trauma psychologically, physically, and sexually.  According to research from the University of Ghana 7 out of 10 women have experienced intimate partner violence within the past 12 months, 62% had experienced psychological violence, 29% had experienced physical violence, and 34% had experienced sexual violence. Participants reported health problems associated with violence, including injury, thoughts of suicide, sleep disruption, and fear of their partner ( News Rx 2015).These statistics that were taken from this year alone shocked me at how high the not only ratio of seven out of ten women but the percentages associated  with violence against women in intimate relationships.

In another article its talks more intimately about domestic violence. Domestic violence is defined as violence intentionally perpetrated by husbands or male partners, people known to be intimate associates(Amoakohene 2004). Ghanaian statistics show that one in three women have suffered physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner. Annual reported cases of violence against women rose steeply from 360 in 1999 to 3622 in 2002, an indication that the problem, as well as awareness of it, is on the ascendancy and requires attention(Amoakohene 2004). Physical spousal abuse, some with fatal consequences, has seem to become a daily occurrence in Ghana as determined by things such as media reports. These violent acts committed against women including rape, defilement, assault/ battery, threatening, and causing harm (Amoakohene 2004). Despite laudable attempts to combat this menace, the violation of women’s rights, both physically and psychologically has continued, with even more reported cases of spousal violence across all strata of the Ghanaian society  (Amoakohene 2004).

In order to reframe violence against women and trauma as health issues in our understandings of health, illness, and medicine in this case of my country Ghana definitely in more ways challenges it than reinforces it. Not only not having the proper resources  it makes it harder for women to bring the proper attention to things such as trauma reinforced by abuse let alone physical medical attention.  As mentioned in lecture health and illness are determined usually by intersectionality. Things such as violence unless physically hurt are not something that is necessarily recognized by the field of medicine as health issues but more along the lines of psychological issues. If you took on this aspect including health, illness, and medicine it would challenge the complete biomedical system. If the biomedicine system were to acknowledge addressing violence and trauma it would decline.

Traumatic events exact on enormous psychological and physical toll on survivors, and often have ramifications that must be endured for decades (Bombay 2009). Intergenerational trauma refers to the secondary effect on an individual who has suffered from violence or trauma has on their family, mainly their children (Bombay 2009). Violence, trauma, and other stressor have a direct effect on the victim, including inability to cope with stress, mistrust,anxiety, agitation, and a decline in physical and mental health (Bombay 2009). I think intergenerational trauma challenges the biochemical and mechanical models by emphasizing the effect that mental health can have over on an individuals overall health and how crucial mental health actually is. By trying to break this generational cycle it will in turn promote better public health.


“Violence Against Women in Ghana.” Africa News Service 5 Dec. 2011. General OneFile. Web. 31 July 2015. (Salam 2011)|A274125983&v=2.1&it=r&userGroup=msu_main&authCount=1

“Violence against women in Ghana: a look at women’s perceptions and review of policy and social responses” December 2004. (Margaret Ivy Amoakohene)

“Sexual Violence; New Data from University of Ghana Illuminate Findings in Sexual Violence (Health Implications of Partner Violence Against Women in Ghana)” Psychology & Psychiatry Jornal (News Rx) 2 May 2015.

Bombay, et al. “Intergenerational Trauma: Convergence of Multiple Processes among First Nations People of Canada.” Pp. 6-30.


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