Ghana Rape Victims Unable to Press Charges because of Lack of Money |TODAY|
Submitted by dan. on 2007-09-10 11:55.
More than half of rape cases never make it to trial-simply because victims cannot afford the cost. It's a simple medical form that requires a doctor's signature. Without it, a rape victim has no chance of winning a case against her attacker. But getting the form signed costs 150,000 to 300,000 cedis. As a result, officials estimate, more than half of rape victims simply give up their hope of justice.
Ama Agbodaze, a social worker, puts the number even higher. On average, she said, for every ten victims she gives a medical form to fill out, at most two or three return. According to this estimate, 70 to 80 percent of victims choose not to pursue justice past an initial visit to the police station.
"They can't afford the medical bill," Ms. Agbodaze said, adding, "that's why they don't come back."
It's not the medical examination that costs money, but the form itself, according to Commander Borquaye.
"They will examine you all right, give you the medication, but when it comes to writing the report, endorsing the medical form-that is where you have to pay before the doctor signs," Commander Borquaye said.
The reason many doctors charge so much for a signature, said Dr. James Clayman, a gynecologist, is that doctors may be called to testify in court if the rape victim presses charges.
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