Sunday, February 26, 2017

Humphrey Fellow Ofori-Amanfo on The Untold Stories of Widows

[EXCERPT]

Widowhood within some cultures in Africa and other countries is characterized by degrading and inhumane rituals that can amount to torture. These rituals inflict grave abuse of widows. The encyclopedia of Death and Dying in its report, “Widows in Third World Nations” reported that

“…in Nigeria … a widow may be forced to have sex with her husband’s brothers, “the first stranger she meets on the road,” or some other designated male. This “ritual cleansing by sex” is thought to exorcise the evil spirits associated with death, and if the widow resists this ordeal, it is believed that her children will suffer harm. In the context of AIDS and polygamy, this “ritual cleansing” is not merely repugnant but also dangerous. The widow may be forced to drink the water that the corpse has been washed in; be confined indoors for up to a year; be prohibited from washing, even if she is menstruating, for several months; be forced to sit naked on a mat and to ritually cry and scream at specific times of the day and night…”

Read the entire article The Advocates for Human Rights' blog.

Abigail Ofori-Amanfo, a 2016-17 Humphrey Fellow at University of Minnesota is completing her professional affiliation with The Advocates for Human Rights. A women’s right activist, she works to educate rural women and girls in Ghana on their rights and what steps they can take to prevent them from being violated.
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