According to the latest news from Ghana, Otiko Djaba has made an attempt to justify her short-skirt-invites-rape comments, but this has only added salt to injury as she continues to get even more flak. No matter how hard she tries, Djaba can never explain her way out of this blunder, so she must try a different approach.
Surprisingly, the reckless statement came from a prepared speech, which means her speech writer did not vet the script for political correctness.
Is this not the "Swagger Mama," Otiko Djaba who, just a few weeks ago, made such a compelling case for the right of a woman to choose her hairstyle? How is the right to a hairdo different from that of clothing, footwear, or fashion accessories like earrings, makeup, and so on?
Another outrageous statement in the same speech is a warning Djaba issued to male teachers to refrain from impregnating school girls. Again, this is very offensive, especially to the overwhelming majority of male teachers.
Two insensitive gaffes in a single speech! That is not okay.
If I were Otiko Djaba, I would retract these reckless comments, apologise, and move on. I would apologise because I would not like to create an impression that one can blame a girl for being raped while in the same vein mitigate the culpability of the rapist.
Moreover, an apology would be the surest way to put the matter to rest so that the honourable minister can get the peace of mind to concentrate the enormous responsibility that lies ahead.
Having apologised, I would then turn the whole debacle into a valuable learning opportunity for all Ghanaians: rape is a crime!
The fact that many people in Ghana, not only Otiko Djaba, share the view that somehow a woman can be held partly responsible for an unwanted sexual attack means that some Ghanaians do not quite understand that rape is a crime. In a male chauvinist society like Ghana, it would take a good deal of education and strict law enforcement to change people’s attitude to rape.
Interestingly, in the advanced countries, men are usually very careful in their dealings with women so as not to be accused of sexual misconduct. It is somewhat the reverse in Ghana where a Gender Affairs Minister lectures young ladies on how to dress to avoid rape!
As the minister concerned, I would also seize the opportunity to request the Ghana government for the necessary authority, power, and the wherewithal for the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, to adequately prepare it for the fight against sex crimes and child abuse.
Otiko should remember that she has a herculean task to perform, so she should save herself from unnecessary distractions. The Children subdivision of her portfolio, for example, is enough to keep her busy every single minute of her time in office. Just imagine some of the issues that her ministry needs to tackle such as child labour, child enslavement, child abuse, and so forth.
If I were Otiko Djaba, my legacy would be the relocation of the thousands of child hawkers from city streets to the classrooms where they rightly belong.
To move forward, Otiko Djaba should take the more prudent option of an apology. Otherwise, she will spend every single day her political life trying to defend the indefensible.
Written by: Theo Acquah
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