Mmegi Online :: GBV remains grave concern
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Last Updated
Friday 25 May 2018, 14:11 pm.
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GBV remains grave concern

When most in the country put on their Sunday best, few will have reflected on the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence (GBV) as it comes to a close for the year. Botswana, as in the previous years continues to raise awareness against GBV. However, studies show that GBV remains a great concern in the country, as women and the girl-child mainly remain victims of abusers who continue violating them instead of offering them love and protection. Mmegi Correspondent NNASARETHA KGAMANYANE writes
By Nnasaretha Kgamanyane Fri 08 Dec 2017, 17:20 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: GBV remains grave concern








* Kedibonye Molebatsi, a mother of two met her husband when they were still in high school. The two were inseparable. Theirs was a love admired by many, who described it as the kind pf love only seen on film.  Life was perfect. The couple gave their daughter and son everything that they needed.

Kedi, as her husband Oageng Molebatsi used to call her, was a very beautiful woman. The two had a perfect home up until Molebatsi got a job and later a promotion. He started associating with wrong friends. He even started drinking too much alcohol, coming home late and at times he would not sleep at home. Whenever Kedi asked him of his whereabouts, Oageng who was lost in his own little world, would get angry and beat her. The anger and the beatings would continue for days. After a while the anger and beatings would extend into months where the violence gradually escalated.

Oageng’s abuse was exerted in not buying food, toiletry and unpaid bills. As if that was not enough, the children that he used to cherish so much also endured his beatings. Kedibonye was afraid to report the matter to the police, as she was afraid of how her community would view her. She did not want to be judged. Things changed from worse to worst by the day until Oageng assaulted their daughter. Their daughter’s teacher asked where she got a blue eye. The girl burst into tears before telling her teacher everything. Fortunately, the teacher called social workers and that is when Oageng was arrested and later tried for violating his wife and children.

Kedi and Oageng’s story is one that is all too common in the country, but not all these have the same ending as theirs.  When addressing men during the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MoHW) Men’s Pitso on GBV yesterday, Men Sector Coordinator, Nonofo Leteane said violence against women and children kills and devastates families and communities worldwide. He added that attitudes that generate traditions of terror encourage the use of violence as enshrined in patriarchy, negative masculinity and the entire negative socialisation process of gender inequality, which remain ever present.

“According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), one in three women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence. In our country it’s even worse; two in three women have experienced GBV. Therefore ending violence in our communities is going to take all of us and it is critical that all genders are active participants and promoters of change to the current status quo,” he said. However, Leteane pointed out that men needed to take responsibility for how much power they have, how much space they take up and their actions and behaviours. He said they needed to question their complicity within systems of violence, if they contribute to or oppose violence with their actions, words or silence.  “We need to take action against violence when we see it and when you are able to oppose it, speak when you hear violent or oppressive language or comments.” He pointed out that they just celebrated International Men’s Day in Serowe under the theme Celebrating Men and Boys in all their diversity under the theme ‘Call To Action for individuals, institutions and organisations.

The theme calls on all stakeholders to innovate the manner in which they design and deliver resources and support services which speak to the unique needs and issues of Men and Boys.   It also

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calls on stakeholders to refrain from using a one-size-fits-all approach to creating tools for men and boys that help empower them and strengthen the communities in which they live.

For his part, the health assistant minister, Phillip Makgalemele said globally, one in three women have experienced GBV and or sexual violence, making these the most prevalent forms of violence against women. He explained that a very disheartening fact is that men mainly perpetrate the acts.

“Adolescents, youth and women are disproportionately affected by GBV as a result of social, cultural and structural factors. Botswana has not been spared as the GBV Indicators Study of 2012 indicated that 67% of women in Botswana experienced some form of violence. Often times men are the perpetrators of violence where they even sexually molest their own biological children,” he said.

He added that the studies show a substantive number of young people starting to engage in sex at younger age, a majority of them through coercion. In Botswana for instance, 19% of students are said to be included in the Botswana Youth Risk Behavioural Surveillance Survey (2012) and reported having had been coerced into sexual intercourse for the first time before age 13.

Makgalemele therefore called on men for concerted effort to ensure that young people were protected from sexual violence and supported to postpone “sexual debut” until they are mature to avoid negative impacts including STI, HIV infections and teenage pregnancies. He added that there was evidence that intergenerational sex was prevalent in more girls being impregnated by older men.

“Furthermore, about three in every five women (or 62%) experienced violence in intimate relationships. Emotional violence is the most common form of intimate partner violence (IPV) at 45%. This is followed by physical violence (35%), economic violence (29%), and sexual violence (15%). Evidence suggests that women who have been subjected to violence seek health care more often than women who have not been subjected to violence, even if they do not disclose the associated violence hence the need to capacitate Health Service Providers (HSP) on screening skills for GBV/IPV. This means that health care providers are ideally placed to identify and respond to people subjected to intimate partner violence or GBV,” Makgalemele added.

He however, pointed out that men were at times victims of GBV as well as perpetrators saying that either way they need to know where to get assistance. He called on men to seek help if violated, must control their emotions and stop being perpetrators of GBV.

Archbishop Moroka Tumaeletse quoted the Bible saying that God created Eve from Adam’s rib. He emphasised that a woman’s body was her husband’s and therefore it was imperative for men to care for women. “Men, there shouldn’t be any violence towards women and a girl-child.

Eve saw Adam as her father, protector, pillar and strength. Nowadays there are passion killings. Love nowadays is insignificant. Why do you hurt one of your bones?  In a relationship or marriage, effective communication is vital. Talk things through and if that does not work seek professional help,” he emphasised.

Tumaeletse, also a marriage counsellor, added that a relationship between two people is all about compromise. He said if a couple does not agree on something they must find a common understanding and make a decision, which will work for both of them. He also urged men to love their partners and treat their women like glass. He said they must not beat or rape them.

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