The nation can uproot gender-based violence (GBV) by working together, says the Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs Dorcus Makgato.
Speaking at the Joint Gender Programme (UNJGP) on GBV (2018-2020) signing ceremony between Botswana and UN recently, Makgato explained that she was saddened by the rising cases of women and girls being raped, disempowered, violated, abused and even murdered.
She added that even though reports show alarming numbers of women that are violated against on daily basis, the public must ask themselves of multitudes who have not shared their GBV experiences. She explained that some women were afraid to share their experiences for various reasons such as trying to protect themselves and their children, stigma, cultural beliefs more especially for married women who are not allowed to report marriage rape as it is believed that they can’t report their husbands for rape and others.
“The recent incident of a (murdered) young girl is one of the worst examples of GBV. A young woman was raped, murdered, stripped naked and left in the cold. Her pictures have been shared across all social media platforms. Personally, I feel that it is inhumane to take a picture of a dead person more especially when the person is murdered let alone post it in social media,” she said.
Minister Makgato added that, “In Botswana that I know, we would cover her naked body. We would feel empathy and pain for the deceased and respect her family. What has happened to us? We have gone north instead of going south”.
She said it was up to every citizen young or old, male or female to ask themselves what they are doing to stop GBV. Furthermore, Makgato explained that according to research, some men that were doing GBV did not like it. He said even
Makgato said the society - men and women - needed to work together to fight GBV. She said men being the key conversation of the issue needed to be included in the fight against GBV. She added that there was a great need for the voice of girl and boy child, men and women. She said there were three types of abuse being emotional, physical and sexual abuse. The minister explained that the signing of the UN Joint Gender Programme on GBV was a great milestone for the country.
For her part, UN resident coordinator Jacinta Barrins said GBV included acts that inflicted physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering, threats of such acts, coercion and other deprivations of liberty. She explained that GBV continues to be one of the most prevalent human rights abuses around the world and Botswana therefore eliminating GBV was therefore a priority.
“According to the Botswana GBV Indicators Study (2012), 67% of women in Botswana have experienced some form of gender violence in their lifetime including partner and non-partner violence. Only 1.2 of Batswana women reported cases of GBV to the police. The proportion of men admitting to having perpetrated violence against women was 44%. Almost a quarter (23%) of all the women interviewed said they had experienced sexual harassment at school, work, in public transport or at the healers,” she said.
She further explained that the UN Joint Gender Programme (UNJGP) on GBV (2018-2020) will strive towards the realization of the achievement of the SDG 5 on gender equality.