SAT Foundation urges widows to say no to widowhood rights

By Lorlornyofm July 11, 2019 00:51

SAT Foundation urges widows to say no to widowhood rights

The Samuel Amo Tobbin (SAT) Foundation has advised widows to be bold to “say no” to maltreatments meted out to them in the name of widowhood rites.

Such maltreatments include shaving of their pubic hair, ejecting them from their houses, denying them access to food, forcing them to sleep with their late husbands’ corpse, and denying them the right to access, own, control or inherit property as well as the land they lived on.

Mr Samuel Agbotsey, a Campaign Coordinator with Amnesty International Ghana, who addressed the widows at the commemoration of the International Widows’ Day by the Foundation said: “Be bold to say no to widowhood rights because the law is on your side.”

The theme for the celebration was “Widows’ Rights”.

Making reference to the Chapter 5 Article 15, Section 1 and 2 of the 1992 Constitution, he said “the dignity of all persons should be inviolable and no person shall whether or not he is arrested, restricted or detained be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

“Therefore, when you are shaved, denied food or your property is taken from you, report them to the police,” he added.

When asked why the widows failed to report such maltreatments to the police and the court, some said one could not successfully file a court case if the person was not financially sound as the court demanded money to work on a case.

Others said it was because they were asked to succumb to the treatment by family members because it was customary while some thought priority was given to those who were well dressed and looked financially stable, saying, widows as poor as themselves were sometimes asked to go and return many times to the police station or court because those to attend to them were busy.

Mr Agbotsey said a lot of injustices were meted out to widows due to lack of proper documentation of their marriages, and advised women to visit District Assembly offices with witnesses to sign their marriage certificates.

“Any man who doesn’t want to sign the marriage certificate doesn’t love you, he is just using you,” he added.

The keynote speaker said it was unfortunate how it was mostly women who performed abusive rites on widows, adding that, they were displeased when same rites were performed on their relatives.

He, therefore, advised the widows to stand up and defend any widow they witnessed was going through similar maltreatments to gradually put a halt to it.

In order to give widows the rights they deserved, Mr Agbotsey said it was necessary to empower all women, address their needs and concerns, ensure protective laws existed, educate widows and their communities on the laws, and hold the government accountable for the rights of widows.

“I will urge parents not to push their daughters into marriages they are not prepared for especially financially. If a women goes into marriage and has to ask her husband for money to purchase every petty thing, it will give the man an upper hand over the woman to maltreat her,” he said.

Mrs Harriet Asante, the Executive Director of the SAT Foundation explained that the gathering was part of the activities undertaken by the Foundation to celebrate the International Widows’ Day which falls on June 23 of every year.

He said the Foundation for years had been providing health, educational, social and livelihood empowerment support to the widows but found the need to enlighten them on their rights to enable them to demand what they deserved.

“When widows come to our office for support, they usually talk about their families neglecting them and some taking all the properties they gathered with their late spouses. And the organisation cannot keep on counselling them without helping them to know their rights as widows”.


By Lorlornyofm July 11, 2019 00:51
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