Mmegi Online :: Record 700 rapes reported by mid-2017
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Friday 15 December 2017, 17:56 pm.
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Record 700 rapes reported by mid-2017

Rape has become a concern that is deeply disturbing the community and the police alike. Only six months into the year, the police have already registered a shockingly high number of rape cases. Staff Writer PINI BOTHOKO reports
By Pini Bothoko Fri 16 Jun 2017, 11:11 am (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Record 700 rapes reported by mid-2017








The Botswana Police Service’s spokesperson, assistant commissioner Witness Bosija says statistics show that from January to May this year 700 women have been raped.

He said that last year 2,052 rape cases were recorded as compared to 2,163 cases in 2015 showing a decline of 5.13 percent. Police have expressed concern over an increase in rapes involving women who are attacked and sexually violated at night while from entertainment arenas.  The police investigations reveal that in most cases, women  are raped while walking alone at night but a few are attacked and raped in their sleep.

In most instances, women are attacked and raped whilst walking alone at night under the influence of alcohol, something that results in a majority of them failing to identify the perpetrator(s).

Following the spike in rape cases, women have been warned to avoid walking alone at night because they are vulnerable as doing so would mean they would be exposing themselves to danger.

Usually, the perpetrators use sharp objects like knives to threaten the victims before raping them making sure that they do not fight back or scream for help. Bosija stated that in most cases, women are raped by people they know or appear to have spent some time with prior to the incident with only a few not knowing the suspects.

He said when doing further investigation into the matter, they usually discover that the suspect and the complainant would have spent some time together before the incident. “In some instances, the people who would have given those women (a) lift and would have showered them with gifts earlier at entertainment places, are the ones who tend to rape them,” Bosija said.

Women have been advised to make sure that before leaving to the entertainment areas, they have safe transport back home to avoid the unnecessary rape cases.  Bosija also warned women to avoid hitchhiking, especially at night as in most instances the women were raped by the people who would have offered them a free ride.

“We do not condone rape, but women should avoid walking alone and should avoid depending on strangers at

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night. I encourage women to budget for their alcohol and to stop depending on strangers to buy them alcohol, as usually they will want something in return.

“This puts them at risk, especially because they would be under the influence of alcohol and fail to defend themselves,” Bosija said.

He stated that most of the rape cases occur at the settlements and cattle posts where people spend most of the time abusing alcohol. He said that they have intensified public education through police exhibitions, Kgotla meetings and Itshireletse television show in which they sensitise people about crime including rape. Bosija pleaded with women to continue reporting rape, not to choose to suffer its effects alone and in silence.

Commenting on the shocking revelation senior counsellor at Women Against Rape, Gabalape Tauejele said the rate at which rape cases increase in Botswana worried them because it appeared that their efforts to curb the crime were failing. He said that frequently they visit the community to sensitise people on issues of Gender Based Violence (GBV) including rape during dialogue in gender groups.

He said they visit shebeens on a regular basis or hold dialogue near entertainment areas as it has been proven that most cases of GBV are committed by people under the influence of alcohol.

“We do talk to women to stop depending on men at the bars for alcohol and dropping them home afterwards because in most cases they end up being sexually abused. We also advise women not to trust strangers, especially at night when they are under the influence of alcohol to make the right decisions,” Tauejele said. Tauejele said that through their public education, they also target men to sensitise them about things that can lead to GBV so that they do not find themselves on the wrong side of the law. He said that they always talk to men not to think that after buying women alcohol they will get something in return.

“I am concerned that despite our countless efforts to curb incidents of rape, police continue to register escalating cases of rape,” Tauejele said.

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