A 32-year-old gay man was attacked by two violent men on July 2, 2022 at Nungua in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana.
According to the victim (name withheld) who sent audio messages through WhatsApp to report his case to Rightify Ghana, he rents a small apartment at Nungua which has no toilet facilities hence uses the public restroom in his area. For some time now, he has been suffering a stomach illness which makes him visit the public restroom regularly.
He disclosed on his way back home from the public restroom on the said day, between the hours of 12:00am to 1:00am; “I heard a guy calling me but I did not mind him, and I heard another one calling from in front of me. I was afraid a little. The place I was, I couldn’t run so I had to wait for the guys.”
The victim decided to stop and listen to what the two strangers who had encircled him had to say, as he had one each in front and behind him – making it difficult to escape.
He added that they walked straight to him and attempted to be friendly. One of them claimed that a friend of theirs knew him and he was his good friend.
Curious to know whom their friend was, he asked to find out about the person they were referring to.
“So, he mentioned a guy I have been meeting on my road anytime I’m going to work, but I don’t know where he stays… This guy I have never visited his house before, he has never visited my place before. He doesn’t have my number. I don’t have his number,” he explained and added that he felt unafraid after they spoke about this other person he always saw on his way to work.
After this exchange, he decided to move and he “heard someone slap me. I heard a slap on my face.”
According to the victim, the men went on to say “hey, stupid boy, stand there.”
He questioned them that “ah boss, what have I done to you?”
Continuing to recount his experience with homophobia, the victim said that “they started calling me names, hey Kojo Besia, hey you this guy stand there today we will kill you” and other people joined.
‘Kojo besia’ is used metaphorically to mean a male who behaves in ways that are deemed stereotypical of females.
According to the victim, there are other in the area presumed to be gays. However, he has not socialized with them as he relocated to the area not long ago. He continued that he does not speak or engage with strangers; “because I know what people can do.”
He was trying to track down how the men who had attacked him might have found such personal information concerning his sexual orientation.
“They decided to take my phone, they held my phone so I had to hold my phone back and I got beatings… I got some beatings… 12:00am – 1:00am, it wasn’t easy,” he recounted.
In seeking for help, the victim decided to call his landlady; “Maa Lydia, I’m on the road side, some people are trying to take my phone and trying to abuse me. So this woman just rushed to the road side.”
His landlady came to “rescue” him and because she speaks the native language of the area, she confronted the men.
In a telephone conversation with Rightify Ghana, the victim said that the men initially demanded for GH₵1,000 before they would return his phone.
However, his landlord negotiated for a reduction to GH₵500 and subsequently to GH₵400 which was paid by the landlady. His phone was returned to him after the money was paid.
According to the victim, he is not able to afford a GH₵250 medication he currently needs for his stomach illness and now more worried to be saddled with an additional GH₵400 debt.
He noted that “I didn’t call them, I didn’t tell anyone that I want to sleep with them. I decided not to have any sex encounter with anybody around my area.”
Expressing concern on the rising intolerance and discriminatory behaviours against LGBTQI+ Ghanaians, he said he is 32 years old and “this is my first time I have been harassed, this is my first time I have been beaten, this is my first time I have been blackmailed. I’m afraid,… I’m afraid right now. I don’t know what to do. I’m afraid. It’s not easy. It’s not easy.”
His attack comes days after 30 LGBTI persons were arrested and released from police custody, after robbers invaded their party to assault and rob them, as well as told the police that they had organized a ‘gay party.’