In 1998, the Gender Studies and Human Rights Documentation Centre (the Gender Centre) took the bold step of undertaking a nationwide research to ascertain the prevalence of violence against women and children in Ghana. At the time of the research, violence against women was largely a hidden problem. The publication of the study report titles “Breaking the silence and challenging the Myths of Violence against Women & Children in Ghana” in 1999 set the stage for a nationwide mobilization around tackling the pervasive issue of violence against women, leading to the passage of the Domestic Violence Act in February 2007.
This publication, using the data collected in 1998, is another effort by the Gender Centre to deepen knowledge and understanding of the factors that underpin and sustain violence against women. The publication has been a long time in coming but it has been worth the wait.
The title of the book clearly illustrates that violence against women, like a building has many facets which together make it what it is. You cannot have a strong building when you ignore some of the materials that go into making it complete. In the same way, you cannot effectively address, reduce or eliminate violence against women without addressing the multiple facets of violence against women. While it is important to tackle the state and its structures of law and law enforcement agencies, it is equally important to tackle the social structures of religion and culture as well as the social organizations of marriage and family and the hierarchies and inequalities in marriage and family that sustain violence against women.
It is our hope that this new publication ‘The Architecture of Violence against Women in Ghana’ will further deepen our understanding of violence against women and thereby strengthen our resolve to reduce if not eliminate violence against women from our society.