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A nation of abusers

Ranked as one of the most peaceful countries in the world, behind closed doors its people violate each other.

The recently released Botswana National Relationships study has revealed that Gender Based Violence (GBV) is relatively high in the country with both men and women at risk of experiencing violence.

The study involved 4,224 women and 3,696 men from across the country in different economic sectors and varying levels of income and education.

According to the results released this week, 37% of women in Botswana reported experiencing some form of GBV in their lifetime including partner and non-partner violence. Thirty percent of men reported perpetrating GBV. Likewise, 21% of men interviewed reported experiencing some form of violence, while 12% of women reported perpetrating violence in their lifetime.

According to the study, most of the violence reported occurs within intimate relationships or what is referred to as Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). Thirty six percent of women reported experiencing violence in an intimate relationship in their lifetime while 26% of men reported perpetrating IPV.

“Men also suffer violence at the hands of their intimate partners. The study shows that 18% of men reported IPV while 18% of women reported perpetrating violence against an intimate partner in their lifetime,” reads the report.

The study found that emotional intimate partner violence was the most common form of IPV experienced by women (31%) while 17% of men experienced it in their lifetime. Fourteen percent of both men and women perpetrated emotional violence within intimate relationships.

According to the study, 15% of women reported experiencing abuse in pregnancy.

“One hundred and two women experienced physical abuse from their partners when they were pregnant. Thirty-six women were hurt in the stomach when they were pregnant, while 18 women reported that they had a miscarriage at some point as a result of being beaten.

“Nineteen women reported that they went into premature labour

which was induced by abuse and two percent of women who were interviewed fell pregnant after being raped.

“One percent had an abortion or unwanted pregnancy as a result of rape. Of those who had an abortion, around half had an illegal abortion which is usually unsafe and detrimental to the mother,” reads the study.

The study further reveals that 28% of women reported experienced GBV, while 17% of women reported perpetrating GBV in the past 12 months before the survey. The study showed that 26.2% of women and 15% of men reported experiencing GBV in the past 12 months before the prevalence survey.

The Botswana Relationship Study 2018 is a follow up to the 2012 GBV indicators Study conducted in 2012. In the study, researchers asked women and men about their experiences and perpetration of violence.

In addition to the prevalence survey, tools used included the interrogation of administrative data from police, courts and shelters, collection of first-hand accounts of women’s and men’s experiences of GBV in all the 16 districts of Botswana as well as media monitoring and public pronouncements analysis.

The research is a call to action to score a goal for gender equality and end all forms of GBV as part of Botswana’s Vision 2036.

The study recommends that the study should be undertaken every five years to benchmark progress.

“The study should also inform a more robust monitoring and evaluation framework that sets baselines, targets and indication on every parameter in every district. There should be a Cabinet directive to ensure that every ministry has a zero tolerance for GBV and that this features prominently in political pronouncements.

“There should also be a comprehensive prevention strategy that includes interventions at all levels of ecological model,” the researchers recommended.




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