The Domestic Violence Act : Ghana's bright future
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The Domestic Violence Act was passed in Ghana in 2007 marking a shift in the legal recourse available to survivors of intimate partner violence. The goal of my research is to identify the social, cultural, and legal changes that have occurred in Accra, Ghana and the surrounding areas since the passage of the DV Act. While in Ghana I spoke with men and women who were involved in the struggle to get the bill passed, as well as NGO employees and government officials who have seen men and women utilize the legal rights that the bill provides. I wanted to learn as much as I could about the cultural complexities of Ghana that continue to make the eradication of intimate partner violence so difficult. In the end, I hope that my research will add to a growing understanding of what is most lacking in the fight to attenuate the deleterious effects of intimate partner violence, so that advocates will be better able to truly implement the DVA’s emancipatory qualities. I also hope that the study will be a catalyst to promote continued education and invigorate activism. Methodologically, I used qualitative research tenets, utilizing in depth interviews and emergent coding. Results show how socio-culturally informed gendered attitudes and norms heavily impact the implementation of and enforcement of legal frameworks within communities. Findings also aid in a better understanding of the factors that surround violence against women in Ghana, and help explain how such factors are interrelated and mutually reinforcing.