For years we have talked about the issue of gender-based violence (GBV) without necessarily taking any action.
Every time GBV goes to the extreme and something tragic happens, we would all raise our voices and send our condolences to the victim’s family, and briefly forget until the next tragedy. It is only now that many people are beginning to wake up to the fact that for us to get desirable results, we are going to have to work hard. Of late, a number of legislators have been speaking against GBV, which is a step in the right direction.
A number of campaigns aimed at ending GBV are coming up. Botswana Association of Local Authorities (BALA) has called on community leaders to become stakeholders in the fight against GBV, and end violence in schools.
There is a Setswana saying, “Kgetsi ya tsie e kgonwa ke go tshwaraganelwa”. Loosely translated it means people accomplish greater things as a team effort. The plea by BALA for leaders in the communities to join hands with responsible authorities is one of the many ways that this beautiful country can perhaps make progress in the fight against GBV. Communities could form clusters solely tasked with fighting GBV and violence in schools.
Of course, we have those members in society who are always critical of any idea put forth, without necessarily offering anything tangible as an alternative. This could be one of the reasons why it has taken long to come up with the much needed campaigns and
Clusters are very useful for broader thinking, as they are able to bring in a good number of people to brainstorm on how an issue can be tackled. Communities can actually come up with good ideas on how we can rid ourselves of the GBV scourge. Sadly, most of us are often either too afraid to be part of a solution or some just don’t care as long as it does not affect them. Still, many people are close to or know someone who is in an abusive relationship, but often times some people prefer to bury their heads when it comes to it, gossip about it or not acknowledge it even exists.
Through community mobilisation we can achieve a lot in the fight against GBV, both men and women need to be sensitised that violence is not part of problem solving. We have time and again heard the Botswana Police Service complain that victims often drop charges against their abusers in the name of ‘love’.
There is no justification for anyone to abuse another individual, and there is no reason to stay in an abusive relationship, even out of love. One violent end is one too many, and one time is more than enough. Let’s stand together to fight GBV!