Mmegi Blogs :: Violence against women is alive in Botswana
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Violence against women is alive in Botswana

November 26 until 10 December marks this year’s 16 days of activism against gender based violence, particularly against women and vulnerable children. This year’s theme, we are told, is titled; ‘Protecting Rights and Preserving Childhoods: Working Together to Address Child Marriage.’
By Tumie Modise Mon 01 Dec 2014, 13:34 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Blogs :: Violence against women is alive in Botswana








Days ago at work, a colleague confided to me how her teenage niece had, without an ounce of shame, announced to her that she planned to move out of the house and from her care in order to cohabit with a boyfriend. I watched as the aunt bawled her eyes out before locking herself up in the restroom to pray. By some coincidence, as I  was driving to work that same morning I was listening in to some programme on the radio on the issue of cohabitation.

Cohabitation, it would seem, is a fairly common practice- especially in towns and cities. Most people I know cohabit more for convenience than anything else. Unless you have a high paying job, are married or you are willing to rob a bank; getting decent accommodation in Gaborone is a real challenge for many people. The bad side of sharing for convenience is that people often lie about their living arrangements. But not once did I ever think even children could cohabitate.

The issue of violence, particularly against women and children, is in my view, now taking a turn for the worse in this country. Never mind Nigeria, even here we have our Boko Haram’s. If they are not ‘abducting’ willing girls and women with their charms, they are maiming and killing them! I happen to be a staunch supporter of the death penalty and I, like many women in this country, am aggrieved that, for some reason, a lot of these killers keep escaping their date with the hangman.

Now with these ever increasing cases of violence against women and children, one cannot help but wonder whether there will ever be a solution to these killings. How many of us have heard horror stories of women being publicly humiliated or killed by their partners?  How many of us have been victims ourselves, yet we just kept quiet about it, too embarrassed to admit and even report? How many of us have gone to work with tons of makeup on our faces just to hide black eyes and scratches? Because believe me, some men fight like girls, they scratch and even bite! Then we blame cats and closed doors for our bruises

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and scratches.

Some years ago, I had the privilege of visiting a police station on one such embarrassing mission. Though my situation was resolved through simple mediation and a warning, it was nonetheless an eye opener for me personally. As is the norm, it so happened that I was not the only female ‘customer’ there on that day.

The bad side to my story, and even to cut the embarrassing story short is that from there onwards, I almost became a regular customer of the station! A bad look my way and I would run to the station without even thinking! All that stopped the day I saw a woman with half her eye hanging out of its socket, running into the police station one Saturday morning. An hour later and with her head covered in bandages, she returned then proceeded to beg the police to release her abuser! I saw that with my own eyes.

Crazy victims aside, the worst thing about being a victim in any situation is the shame that is usually associated with acts of abuse. The thought that already comes to my mind is that of rape victims. Now human nature is very funny on this one: As humans we fear shame more than anything else in the world. This is why politicians, for example, usually prefer to use the opponent’s past deeds in order to shame and hopefully even ‘de-campaign’ them. We seem to fear shame even more than death itself! The tragedy with any forms of abuse is that most reports of abuse and violence are often never, ever reported; hence the victims do not get the much needed support and help. The perpetrators, on the other hand, also do not get punishment or any form of rehabilitation.

In a bid to commemorate this year’s 16 days of activism, one of the activities involves men and boys putting on women’s clothes, make up, shoes and even weaves or wigs in order to walk in our shoes, so to speak. I reserve my comment on this one but a size 9 male foot in my stiletto sounds like the worse form of abuse I have ever endured all my life!

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