As an advocate and community-based research scientist for young adult and adolescent health, I am also a product of overcoming the traumatic experience of child molestation. However, my silence no longer controls me, as I have found my strength and my success within my story. Through the Ms. Ghana USA platform, my mission is to continue my line of work as an advocate for Sexual Violence Awareness and Prevention who creates, educates and cultivates an environment for members of the Ghanaian diaspora to be empowered.
“What are we actually doing to help our young people”? I ask myself this question every time I come in contact with young people in my community who have experienced similar trauma and one that I now ask myself concerning members of the Ghanaian community. In 2017, a hashtag was created entitled #Justice4Her, that brought attention to an incidence of sexual violence regarding a young 4-year-old in Ghana. This hit close to home for me as I was also 4 years old when I experienced my trauma and led me to begin research on this topic in Ghana. While many public figures in the country raised awareness and were affected by this disturbing act, my research led me to find: a lack of social support and education, a lack of knowledge shared regarding consent rights, and inconsistent cultural language around sexual conversations, the perception of the perpetrator and the victim. As a leader, I want to begin the process of fulfilling this need for support by breaking the barriers and create greater awareness on this topic in Ghana.
Through my program titled #CreateEducateCultivate, my plan is to Create an agenda that will inform the community and begin conversations around sexual violence, Educate our young adults regarding sexual health, self-love, efficacy and decision making, and Cultivate safer environments that will empower young people to transition into healthier adults. The long-term vision of the #CreateEducateCultivate program is to implement programming in secondary schools and create avenues for access to local support and resource centers in Ghana.
I currently serve as an ambassador for a non-profit organization called “Combating Child Sexual Abuse (Combating CSA)” in Ghana. This year, I will fulfill the first stages of the #CreateEducateCultivate program vision in partnership with Combating CSA, which will include: presenting the program through a school tour in Accra, speaking at summits, galas, advocating for funds with grantors and stakeholders, and educating the community about the importance of child sexual abuse.
It's time to open up a door to give young people courage to not be afraid of traumatic experiences such as rape, sexual harassment, molestation, and abuse. I wasn’t really living out my God-given gift to serve and lead the youth of tomorrow, because I allowed the fear of telling my story to dim my light and hinder my power. Now my story is my greatest source of light and power. Now, I’m fully prepared to take on this task as your MsGhanaUSA2018. Thank you.
- Kwadwo Boahene
- Mary adusei
- Pearl Asare
- Nelly Akuffo
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