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No Room For Apologists, Enablers In GBV War

A person who defends a rapist, a defiler, or an indecent assaulter, with the full knowledge of the pervasive crimes they have committed, is an apologist and an enabler.

Any person who claims a victim of a rape, defilement, or indecent assault is the one at fault for the assault, is an apologist and enabler. Any persons who chooses silence over the allegation of a rape, defilement or indecent assault where someone they know is a perpetrator or alleged perpetrator, is an apologist and enabler.

Anyone who finds themselves giving a bogus excuse for the incident of rape, defilement, or indecent assault, like “she should have dressed better/more decently!” or “she came on to him!” or “she should not have taken the drinks he bought her!” or “she should have gone out with her own money!” or “young girls like money and expensive lifestyles!” or any number of other inventive reasons to remove the blame and the responsibility from the perpetrator of the offence of rape, defilement or indecent assault, in an effort to impute any amount of responsibility on a victim or survivor, is an apologist and enabler! It’s that simple! If you find yourself reasoning or justifying your way out of calling a perpetrator out, or finding reasons why the calling out was poorly timed, or suggesting that there is more to the story than what we know, in an effort to protect the perpetrator and minimise his crime in your eyes, you need to check yourself, because you sound pretty much like an apologist and an enabler!

I find that this cannot go unsaid, or unrepeated for longer than two months at a time because our society is comprised of men who are either perpetrators or apologists and enablers. Most of the time, as we well know, they will not accept it, because that would mean they have to face the reality of the toxicity in their own masculinity and in the patriarchy which subsists. Unfortunately, we are constantly reminded of the toxic masculinity, as if our daily lived realities don’t already make life challenging enough! It is disheartening that in 2020, we must still have national campaigns which remind us that one in three women experience some form of domestic violence (named that way because of where it occurs), often in the form of sexual violence.

What is even more disheartening is that those, like Boko, who defend women who are frontliners in the fight against gendered and gender-based violence (GBV), are the ones we must remind of their own toxicity which is often pervaded in private, like good friend to the sexual crimes usually reserved for privacy.

Any man, who finds himself bargaining or balancing political power

with sexual violence crimes against women or girls, and advancing the argument that in fact it would be in the best interests of power, and that it would be illustrative of self-control, or some sort of political intelligence, to remain silent about alleged perpetrators being held to account, is an apologist, and an enabler.

Boko, in the voice clip that circulated, in which he reprimanded his colleague, Dr. Gobotswang, for presenting the Botswana Child Rights Network, for Polson Majaga, accused of defilement, to take a step back from participating in matters of Parliament until his sub judice matter is concluded, has all the makings of enabling.

It is also quite misleading, and it is illustrative of his failure to understand the very things he has previously claimed to stand for. The mention that there is a defilement case against Polson Majaga presently before the Magistrate Court is not, and has never been outlawed. The confirmation that the matter is presently ongoing is not against the law either. Suggesting that because such a damning case is before the courts, the person against whom it is levelled should be encouraged to desist from being part of Parliament and from engaging in matters of the House, specifically discussing GBV, is not outside the law. It is no different from the suspension by the alleged perpetrator’s own political party. An acknowledgement of the power and authority Members of Parliament wield is also not a problem as it is a fact. So the suggestion that because there are political in-fights within one political party, which should justify the silence of all other members of the House on a problem which is a national ill, is characteristic of an enabler and apologist. An enabler and apologist avoids speaking on a problem because the silence benefits them.

And we know what they say about silence being acquiescence, right?! If you fail to call a problem out, then you are defending it; and that makes you just as bad as the perpetrator, because it is your silence which creates the enabling environment for the ills to persist.

Feigning blindness to the fact that a political leader’s actions and advice would not yield our society any results in the direction where we want to move. They will not change our society in any way. Speaking of sexual violence as a one-sided problem, where there must be something wrong with the victim before admonishing the perpetrator, has to end somewhere. And I suggest that somewhere starts with the political leaders!

There Are No Others



Former BDP members

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