Yaa Boatemaa, not her real name, is now battling long-term problems in the head and ears after she narrowly escaped death as a result of domestic violence she endured from her husband.
The 29-year-old woman, who lives in Kumasi, got married in 2017 at the age of 25. She tells Citi News’ Edward Oppong Marfo she has constantly been physically abused in her marriage since 2020.
“The problems in our marriage started when I once called him in the night but another lady answered. After I confronted him, he beat me mercilessly. He also warned me not to inform my family members whenever he beats me. So I was afraid to inform them that I was being constantly abused. The slightest issue could make him beat me up. At a point, it became unbearable, so I informed my uncle about it. It then became worse when he got to know that I had informed my family members. When he impregnated me at a point, he asked me to terminate it, but I refused since I am married to him. He then decided to hit me with some equipment for me to have a miscarriage. That was not the only pregnancy he asked me to abort. Earlier, he beat me up for me to have a miscarriage after I refused to terminate another pregnancy. He kept threatening to kill me and asked me to leave his house”.
She added that her husband threatened to continuously abuse her in the relationship until she gets fed up with the marriage.
“He said he was going to treat me badly until I become fed up and leave the marriage. He kept hitting my head against the wall always. As a result of that, I have developed a defect in the ear. Also, I have been experiencing some unusual headaches. My head becomes very heavy at times. Some liquid substances drop from my ears as well,” she lamented.
She is one of the many victims of domestic violence in the Ashanti Region who have died from the practice, and officials of the Domestic Violence and Victims’ Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service have described the high rate of such incidents as alarming.
Unfortunately, after issuing out threats to their partners, some spouses go the extra mile of following through on their threats and allegedly kill their partners.
On Monday, August 2, 2021, 48-year-old, Bashiru Gambo, allegedly killed his partner, Ama Vida in the middle of the night before their four children, at Asuofia Asamang in the Ashanti Region.
Daniel Laari, a brother to Ama Vida, explains that several attempts by family members to resolve disagreements between his sister and her partner were unsuccessful.
“He had been with my sister for about twenty years since they had four children together. Prior to the incident, my sister called me that she had a misunderstanding with her husband, so I should come around. When I got to the house, I told them that the family asked me to come and ensure all issues are resolved. I told the man to also formally marry my sister. He was given from August to December to marry her. He agreed and indicated his willingness to do that. Shortly after I left, I heard that my sister has died, and they have left behind these orphans”.
Bashiru Gambo died a day after the incident after some residents in the area apprehended him and physically assaulted him.
He died in hospital while receiving treatment after the police rescued him from the mob.
In the Ashanti Region, a number of killings and assaults in relationships have been recorded in recent years.
In January 2020, Comfort Owusu Afriyie was allegedly killed by her boyfriend after they checked in at the Cedar Crescent Hotel in Kumasi.
The matter is still in court as the family of the deceased is calling for speedy investigations into the matter.
In August this year, 24-year-old Attah Demah allegedly killed his 28-year-old girlfriend, Nancy Adjei, at Obuasi.
The Ashanti Regional Coordinator of DOVVSU of the Ghana Police Service, Superintendent Susana Dery, says more cases related to the threat of death among persons in relationships have been recorded in recent times and the trend has been a major source of concern.
She is thus calling on all persons in relationships to quickly identify red flags such as threats from partners and report these to the police to avoid being victims.
A criminologist who is also a lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, KNUST, Dr. Jones Opoku-Ware holds a similar view.
Speaking to Citi News, he urged all persons not to take threats from their spouses casually.
Superintendent Susana Dery says a major issue militating against the operations of DOVVSU is the practice where respected persons within the society intervene and convince persons who have survived such attacks to opt for an out-of-court settlement. She is thus calling on stakeholders to come together to ensure offenders are not shielded but are rather punished.
Yaa Boatemaa is advising young ladies to ensure they acquire skills before getting into marriage in order for them to be financially independent after tying the knot.
“When I met him, I had received training as a hairdresser. I should have gone ahead with it, but I was so obsessed with marriage at the time. I am appealing to my fellow women to be careful when they are entering into marriage,”
Dr. Jones Opoku-Ware wants the public to have a reorientation for people to open up about issues in their relationship to tackle issues at the budding stage before the matters get worse.
He is also calling on families to avoid encouraging people to be in “relationships that are not working”.
He says people should be made to understand that they can leave their relationships once they begin to see signs that depict that they may be victims of spousal abuse.
Yaa Boatemaa is also calling on the Domestic Violence and Victims’ Support Unit to attach urgency to such cases once they are reported to their outfit.
“I want DOVVSU to attach more seriousness to issues that are sent to them. It’s been almost a year since I reported this case to them, but they are now taking steps to address it.”