Posted: Tue, May 22, 2018 | By: Ghana
A CRITICAL THINKING WORKSHOP HELD AT ASSIN JAKAI ON 13TH MAY 2018. THE MEETING STARTED AT 10AM AND ENDED AT 12PM.
THERE WERE 41 PARTICIPANTS AGED BETWEEN 30 TO 66 YEARS.
THE AIM OF THE WORKSHOP IS TO END THE TRADITIONAL PRACTICES WHICH ARE INHUMAN IN GHANA.
THEME: WIDOWHOOD RITES.
In most of the parts Ghana especially the three Northern parts,culture has become the set engine for societal development. In this sense,it has become a panacea and tool that can be exploited for any societal development. But is that always the case that culture is the tool for societal development? The answer is obviously no.
There are certain negative cultural practices which are inimical,dehumanizing and infringe on the fundamental human right of people who become victims to such cultural practices. On this note, the topic for today’s discussion will be based on ” WIDOWHOOD RITES”.
What then is widowhood rite? A widowhood rites can be defined as the status of an individual who is legally married to someone who has subsequently die. Thousands of women have undergone multiple human rights violations in the name of culture.
Most of the widowhood rites are being spearheaded by women who supress the widows by torturing, stripping them naked, shaving their hairs and forcing them to drink concoctions prepared with leaves, hairs and finger nails of their late husbands.
Furthermore, the widows are forced to sleep with the corpse for three or more days (maximum 7 days) in a locked room. A pillow made of stones are given to the widows to sleep on as part of the torment that they receive.
Again, the widows are made to drink the water that is used to washed the dead body just to prove that they didn’t kill their husband.
Somtimes both the women and the children are denied food and shelter. They are sacked from the house immediately after the death of their husband.
In a case whereby the widows are allowed to stay, the widows are not allowed to touch things becasue they are classified as being impure.
But in this new millennium, science has proven our traditions(cultural practices) wrong. Through secience, the scientists have been able to invent machines that are used for diagnosing. So to know the cause of a person’s death,an autopsy can be carried out rather than tormenting the widows.
The treatment we the women faced somtimes block us from self develpoment and exclude us from participation in true marital life and in society becasue we do not have certain rights that the men take for granted.
Women who undergo such rites are subjected to mental, physical and emotional torture when they are accused of killing their husbands.
The practice of these widowhood rites have led widows into extreme poverty,migration,social oppression with many children being denied access to education and health.
Sometimes too most of the widows who could not stand the humiliation, beatings and other ill treatment commit suicide.
The children who becomes homeless becomes streetism and lead deviant life such as arm robbery, prostitution, drug addict etc which may either cause their death, land them in jail and become early parenthood.
Despite the fact that the practice of widowhood rites dehumanizes widows, is injurious to them and also violate their fundamental human rights and dignity.
During the burial services, the victims are not allowed to go to the cemetary,rather they are sent to the sea-shore to be bathe. Why? Because it is done to purify them. Furthermore, after the burial of the late husbands,according to the tradition, the widows are to be in a white cloth for one year before any man can come and offer proposal to them.
The government needs to enforce laws to abolished these cultural practices because it only brings suffering to we the women.
For the victims to drink the water which has been used to wash the dead body may cause them sickness because bacterias settles on the body so the water becomes polluted and unsafe to drink.
Also, the victims may have problem with their cervical bone when they are made to sleep on a pillow made of stones.
Again, it is unhealthy for one to sleep in a locked room with a dead body because its stinks and may affect the health of the victim.
And as you the women becoming the spearhead of widowhood rites, let us all stand and work hand in hand to abolished this act.
An autopsy is needed to be done if they want to know the cause of a person’s death but not to suppress the victims and torture them.
To conlude with, IBB as been our back bone and their aim is to end superstitious belives with scientific proves and research.
VOICE OF ALL PARTICIPANTS:
We really thank and appreciate for the wonderful work that IBB are doing across the world. They should continue to educate the inhabitants of the world especially Africa,to end our traditional practices.
We wish them all the best in their work!!
A REPORT DELIVERED BY,