Following the death of Lilian Dejoe early in the month, caused by her husband, Prince Charles Dedjoe, social media was set ablaze as it was reported that Prince Charles Dejoe physically assaulted Lilian which led to her death.
The incident which spread rampantly on social media caught the attention of the National Coalition on Domestic Violence Legislation in Ghana. They called upon the Ghana Police Service and the National Coordinator of Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) to investigate the incident, as there appeared to be evidence of a history of domestic violence in the relationship of the couple. The victim, Lilian sustained injuries from the abuse and was admitted to the Madina Polyclinic for treatment. Her condition worsened resulting in a coma and was later pronounced dead on arrival at the Lister Hospital where she was being transferred for further treatment.
There are reports indicating that the alleged perpetrator is being aided to evade justice due to his affluence. This report has also caught the attention of the National Coalition on Domestic Violence Legislation which issued a statement to that effect.
“It is the hope of the Coalition that is not the case; however, because there are many other known stories of manipulation by family and community members to assist perpetrators of gender-based violence evade the criminal justice system, the Coalition cannot take this issue for granted,” the Coalition said.
We certainly hope that justice is served on behalf of Lilian Dejoe.
What is Domestic violence? And how does it impact finances and the workplace?
Domestic violence, is sometimes referred to as intimate partner violence, or family violence. It is not just limited to physical abuse but encompasses verbal abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, digital abuse, reproductive coercion, and digital abuse.
Domestic violence does not only affect individuals physically and emotionally but financially and socially.
According to UN Women, the United Nations (UN) entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women,
“Globally, 35 percent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence, or sexual violence by a non-partner.”
“Across five regions, 82 percent of women parliamentarians reported having experienced some form of psychological violence while serving their terms.”
“In 2019, one in five women, aged 20–24 years, were married before the age of 18.”
“Less than 40 percent of the women who experience violence seek help of any sort.”
In a research paper written by Ebenezer S. Owusu Adjah and Isaac Agbemafle, data from the 2008 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey (GDHS) indicated “Of the 1524 ever-married women in this study, 33.6 % had experienced domestic violence. The risk of experiencing domestic violence was 35 % for women who reside in urban areas. Risk of domestic violence was 41 % higher for women whose husbands experienced their father beating their mother.”
Impact of Domestic Violence on finances
#1 Disruption to work and income
Actions of abusive partners affect their victims’ ability to work and be productive. This may be classified as a form of financial abuse as the abuser prevents their partner from working and earning their income. With the inability to hold a steady job and get a worthwhile income, the victim is forced to depend on the abuser making it difficult for the victim to leave the relationship. Thus the abuser continues in an endless loop unless the victim takes in courage and realizes enough is enough.
#2 Disruption to education
Your level of education is a determining factor to whether or not you get a higher-paying job. Anyone who finds themselves in the space of domestic violence is most likely to underperform academically or fallout from school. With limited education, victims of domestic violence are unable to enrich their lives and thus stay at the bottom of the social class.
#3 Reproductive coercion
This is where an abuser tries to take control over the reproductive health of a woman, which can involve sabotaging their birth control or forcing them to terminate a pregnancy.
Unplanned pregnancy tends to alter career goals and educational aspirations affecting the woman’s ability to make a substantial income. Also, taking care of a child is no picnic. Caring for a child is quite exorbitant, which is another way that women may end up in a financial mess.
#4 Workplace harassment
Most victims of workplace abuse are faced with an unusual predicament where they have to choose between sleeping with their boss/supervisor or losing their job. Some victims who choose not to give in to the abuse end up losing their jobs. Such individuals do not only lose a job but a source of livelihood which once placed food on the table.
#5 Financial abuse
In this case, abusers may either take money from their victims against their will or damage their credit. This renders their victims in a financial mess and unable to achieve financial dependence.
ALSO READ: Closing the Gender Gap: Lessons from Africa
Together we can help victims of domestic abuse come out from the tyranny of their abusers.