A psychiatrist at Ajumako government hospital, Desmond Egyir Muna has advocated for decriminalization of defilement in Ghana in order to deal with the menace more holistically.
Speaking in an interview with Pulse News, Desmond Egyir Muna claimed that putting peadophiles in prison is not the appropriate way to curb defilement in the country.
According to him, most men who have sexual intercourse with youngsters do not necessarily do so out of uncontrolled libido. He said such men suffer from a mental condition called Paedophilia, and just like suicide victims, they need medical and psychological attention rather than imprisonment.
“They know very well that it is a criminal offence, but they can’t help themselves. They will need a clinical psychologist to help them from that condition. It is just like somebody suffering from schizophrenia, depression or any other mental disorder.
“They should not be put in prison, we can’t ever end it. The person is suffering from a mental problem, if you put him in prison for 100 years, he will come back to commit the same crime.
“In medicine, it is considered as one of the mental disorders, so no matter how you criminalise it, we will never end,” Desmond Egyir Muna asserted.
He called on medical doctors in the mental health specialty to help bring all the truth to this condition to the fore, so as to enable policy makers understand the condition and make the necessary amendments to the current laws.
In Ghana, it is considered a crime to have sex with a child under 16 years. It is considered a defilement because the law says the child at that age is not grown enough to give consent to sex.
However, there is hardly any passing day without a man having been jailed for defilement. In some cases, men have sex with children as young as 3 years.
Figures from the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit of the Ghana Police Service indicate that, a total of 5,752 children were defiled in Ghana between 2010 and 2014, with 342 of the cases perpetrated by family members of the victims.
In the Central region for instance, DOVVSU’s figures show that 273 defilement cases were recorded last year, as against 191 in 2015. The figure represented an increase of 42.9 per cent.
Mr. Desmond Egyir Muna said if the nation continues to treat defilement as a criminal act, it will rather increase at an uncontrollable pace as is being noticed now. He called on Parliament, the mental health authority and other relevant stakeholders to help in addressing the menace before it gets out of hands.