18 June 2015
Janet lives in Ghana with her mother, father and five brothers and sisters. When she was just 11, she was brutally raped by a neighbour. Thanks to the swift action taken by her dad, she is now recovering from the trauma. This Father's Day, we want to share the story of Janet and her dad.
She says: “It happened one evening. We often went to watch a movie at this neighbour's house, as he was one of the few people who had a video. Usually we went together, but that night I was alone.
"To start with, some female relatives of his joined us to watch the movie, but then the man, Asanti, asked me to go and buy some kenkey [a dish made from maize dough] for him."
“So I went for the kenkey and when I returned the relatives were gone. I handed him the kenkey and then he locked the door and turned the TV set up loudly. Then he started to rape me. I shouted and shouted but nobody heard me because the TV was so loud. He hurt me so badly."
Janet finally escaped, and ran home to her dad, Ankomi.
Giving Janet the support she needed
Ankomi had been trained by one of ActionAid's Community Based Anti Violence Teams (COMBAT). He said: "Through this education I learnt what to do if something happens. It gave me courage to take my daughter's case to the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit."
Afterwards, Ankomi took Janet to the hospital, where she had to have an operation.
Ankomi was shocked and ashamed that his daughter had been raped, and at first he wanted to take her out of school. But the COMBAT team supported the family throughout Janet's recovery, and gave Ankomi counselling as well as Janet. He realised that the shame was not Janet's, but her rapist's. Her rapist ran away, and has still not been caught.
With her father and the COMBAT team's support, Janet is now back in school. She says, “Maybe I’ll become a COMBAT member in the future. Because of the education COMBAT gave us we knew what to do. I want to be an example."