The recently released Botswana National Relationship Study 2018 shows that most women suffering abused at the hands of their partners are in Chobe and North East districts.
The study further reveals that Gender Based Violence (GBV) ws relatively high countrywide and was mostly within partners, called Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). It shows two thirds being 59% of women reported that they experienced violence and 39% of men reporting perpetration at Chobe district.
It shows that on second position, over half the women in Northeast district with 52% reported experiencing IPV at least once in their lifetime compared to 43% men reporting ever perpetrating IPV.
Kgalagadi North district has the third highest reported IPV experience for women with 50% of women and 32% of the men reported experience and perpetration respectively.
The study covered all 16 districts country wide interviewing nearly 10, 000 women and men on their relationships. The study further found that more than one in three women and just over one in five men have experienced some form of GBV in their lifetime. The type of violence that was discussed in the study was IPV in lifetime, emotional IPV, economic IPV, physical IPV and sexual IPV. The study further shows Borolong district has the highest overall lifetime experience of IPV by men experiencing violence with 45% and 11% of women reporting perpetration.
Meanwhile Sowa had the second highest reported lifetime experience prevalence for men at 36% with 34% women reporting ever perpetrating IPV at least once in their lifetime. The study shows that experience of IPV is generally high across all the mining areas with more than one in three women reporting ever experiencing IPV.
The reported experience of IPV was the highest at Selebi-Phikwe with 48% followed by Orapa at 44%, Sowa at 32% and Jwaneng at 30%. A high proportion of men at 58% in Sowa disclosed ever-perpetrating IPV more than their counterparts in Orapa at 41% and Jwaneng at 31%.
Asked about reported GBV cases in the Chobe district, Officer Commanding, Senior Superintendent Thari Senwelo said most of the victims of GBV, both women and men, might not be coming forth to report abuse because their statistics on the ground did not tally with the ones in the study. Senwelo conceded that assault cases were the most common but usually his office did not keep statistics because such issues were usually solved
“We usually sit down with them and help establish what could have caused the misunderstanding between the lovers and help resolve the argument. Majority of these issues are usually resolved before we could even open a case,” said Senwelo.
The police boss said violent crimes such as murder, rape and threat to kill that were usually fuelled by GBV were relatively low. He said in 2017 they recorded three cases of rape but the numbers sadly increased to 15 cases in 2018. Senwelo further stated that threat to kill cases also increased from three cases in 2017 to nine cases in 2018.
He said as for murder, which is usually what is called passing killing, they recorded three cases in 2017 and the numbers dropped to two cases last year.
“This so far we have recorded two cases of murder. In one of the incidents, a woman of Pandamatenga killed her lover and in another matter a man murdered his lover at Kazungula,” he said.
He said as for rape, this quarter they have recorded three cases as compared to six the same quarter last year. Senwelo said last year this quarter they did not record any case of threat to kill but this year’s quarter they had record a single case.
Furthermore, he said to demonstrate that cases that were fuelled by GBV were relatively low this year, so far they have recorded only one case of incest and two of defilement as compared to four last year.
Contrary to the study, the headman of records for Letsholathebe village, Gillard Letsholathebe in North-East district shared the same sentiments with Senwelo stating that cases of GBV were relatively low in his village.
He however conceded that disputes between lovers that mostly lead to assaults were common, but they usually help with reconciling partners before the case could be referred to the police.
“If the study says GBV is high in Northeast district, they might have interviewed the people who experienced or perpetrated GBV but never reported to us nor the police because such cases are relatively low. Most of assaults amongst partners are reported here and when failing to reconcile them, we refer such cases to the police,” said Letsholathebe.