The 16 Days of Activism ended on December 10, 2020, with this year's theme 'Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect' adopted throughout different organisations across the globe.
Stakeholders hosted different activities geared towards ending gender-based violence (GBV), particularly focusing on women and girls as research shows that they are in the majority of those that are on the receiving end. Botswana Police Service (BPS) has been routinely releasing statistics of GBV reported at different police stations and the numbers are shocking. Two weeks ago The Monitor published an article in which Broadhurst Police Station deputy commander assistant superintendent Victor Leshiba revealed that they had recorded a total of 502 GBV cases from January to November 21, 2020. "We have from January to date registered five murder cases, 41 rape cases, 35 defilement cases, 27 threat-to-kill cases and 394 assault cases. This takes GBV cases at our station to 502." This, by the way, is just one police station in the country out of the many, hence the need for us to commit to more days fighting this monstrous problem bedevilling our country.
Different political parties and organisations have been hosting activities aimed at fighting GBV, and sadly the violence against women and children continues in different parts of the country. A few days ago, there were reports in different South African media outlets that a couple had beat their child to death, and this was during the 16 Days of Activism. While there are efforts to end GBV, we seem to not be doing enough, as the perpetrators continue to subject women and children to torture, which at times leads to loss of life. It is time for each and every individual to take it upon themselves to be part of the solution. A few years ago, a woman approached this publication, not sure what to do about a situation she was privy to on a daily basis. The woman had a neighbour who was abusing her child, the young girl received beatings on a daily basis, and she had been taken out of school to do household chores. The woman was afraid to report the incident to the police, fearing that her name would perhaps come out in the investigation. The woman finally gathered enough courage to report the situation to social workers and the police, and whether that particular child's life improved after that is a topic for another day.
All of us should be like that woman. Forget the 'nosy neighbour label' when you see signs that your neighbour is being abused or the children are being abused. Sound the trumpet, proudly take on the title of the 'nosy neighbour' if you must to be a hero [even if unsung] for, after all, it takes a village to raise a child. Research has proven that most abused women are stuck in relationships, sometimes for economic reasons, but end up accepting it as a way of life, and being the nosy neighbour can actually save a life. When you hear a woman being battered, do not be afraid to call the police as a good neighbour should. Let's stand together and end abuse on women, children and even men. Together we can!