Director of FIDA-International, Madam Afua Brown-Eyeson has advised against the sharing of the footage that captured the identities of the three females students who were kissed by the Anglican Priest at St Monica’s College of Education.
She is of the view that the three girls who were kissed by Rev. Fr Balthazar Obeng Larbi, in a video circulating on social media did not give consent to the act.
According to her, Rev. Fr Balthazar Obeng Larbi ambushed the female students in question.
“I think there was no consent from any of the girls. Clearly, they were on stage for a particular reason. They were not informed that they were going to be kissed. It was clear ambush,” she told host, Samson Lardy Anyenini on The Law.
She, therefore stated that the identities of the students should not be circulated on social media platforms as they are victims of the unfortunate incident. She noted that if the students are minors, it goes contrary to the Children’s Act.
“I’m in no way saying that the video shouldn’t be shared. I’m talking about the identity of the girls. It could easily have been shared without the faces of the girls and I don’t know the ages. Especially if they are minors, we have a right to protect their identity according to the Children’s Act.”
Her comments were to back an earlier submission by Board Member of International Federation of Women Lawyers, Kezia Kenneth Azumah who stated that the third student who was kissed showed several signs of disinterest.
She explained stating that “I don’t know about the first two girls but the third girl I feel so sad for. Because she was cringing. In fact, when she came, her mask was still on, then she was ordered to remove it, she reluctantly slid the mask, then the man held her and she lifted her leg. If you look at the video, you can say she was clearly harassed.”
Madam Kezia Kenneth Azumah on the matter added that if investigations show the females are above 17-years, sharing the said footage breaches the Domestic Violence Act.
“We are not happy that the identities of the ladies are out there and keeps circulating because even under the Domestic Violence Act, if the girls are more than 18, it means that they come under the act. Their identities must be protected because they are victims. As you can see, they didn’t consent to the kissing,” she said.
Both panelists were reacting to the video of a Reverend Father seen kissing three students at a Church service in St Monica’s College of Education.
The footage drew severe condemnation from many on social media. Following this, the Anglican Church condemned the act and relieved Rev. Fr Balthazar Obeng Larbi of his duties.
Meanwhile, according to Madam Kezia Kenneth Azumah, further investigations on the issue may reveal that the third victim has suffered or will suffer severe trauma due to the incident.
“We suspect that the first two were highly influenced by the power of the Priest, the power imbalance plus what the onlookers would say and what they were saying. But the last one got extremely overpowered and I think if there is anybody who has suffered extreme trauma out of the events, it is the last one who will have more if the psychologists will tell us what their analysis on the ladies are,” she intimated.
She further described the action as indecent assault stating that “unwanted touch, unwanted commentary even about how a person looks, how they have dressed, their body parts all of that is indecent assault.”
“If they do not consent to it, it is indecent assault,” she stressed.