15 May 2019

Botswana: Work for Gender-Based Violence Eradication

Mochudi — The nation has been called upon to work collectively to ensure that cases of Gender Based Violence (GBV) including violence against children are wiped out of the society.

Speaking at the launch of the National Relationship Study report in Artesia on May 14, First Lady Neo Masisi said she was particularly concerned about the welfare of children, especially girls, as they were the most affected by gender-based violence.

She said children experienced violence, were emotionally and sexually abused and neglected by their parents as well as subjected to bullying.

"These are perpetrated by family members, intimate partners, teachers, neighbours, strangers, and other children," she said.

Ms Masisi further said any type of violence on children could cause harm including temporary or permanent disability and mental disorder leading to suicide.

"Abuse in children could also reduce their sense of self-worth, injure their dignity and thereby hinder their development," she said.

The First Lady said she was disturbed that some cases of violence were not reported because families preferred to deal with issues internally leaving perpetrators free.

Launching the report, Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs Mr Ngaka Ngaka said the report showed that Botswana continued to experience high levels of GBV with both men and women at risk.

The minister said the study, conducted in 2018, revealed that 37 per cent of women had suffered some form of violence once in their lifetime including that committed by partner and non-partner.

Further, 30 per cent of men reported perpetrating GBV.

"It is not only the women who are victims as 21 per cent of men reported experiencing some form of violence, while 12 per cent of women reported continued GBV in their lifetime," he said noting that most of the violence reported occurred within intimate relationships.

He said emotional and physical violence were reported to be the most common forms of GBV.

Mr Ngaka said it had also been discovered that men were less likely to report their experiences of violence while alcohol consumption increased the risk of intimate partner violence experience and perpetration.

"Tradition, patriarchal attitudes, in particular, play a huge role in driving GBV both for women and men as they perpetuate rape culture and encourage a culture of silence as survivors fear secondary victimization," Minister Ngaka said.

He said the statistics required all to interrogate and introspect to develop targeted interventions that would address the root cause of the problem across the country.

In his welcome remarks, Kgosi George Thwane of Artesia said men should be like Adam in the Bible who after God gave him a woman, promised to take care of her.

He expressed concern that perpetrators of defilement and incest were protected and continued with their habits while victims were often left without any assistance.

Source : BOPA

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