Activists decry child labour, gender abuse

Gender activists decry the escalating women and child abuse in the work place.

Addressing a press conference in Gaborone recently, Botswelelo John, a gender activist with Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) said that the increasing cases of abuse in the work place and home are disturbing. She said that even though many women were either sexually harassed or abused by their male counter-parts, especially their employers or bosses, they did not report them fearing to lose their jobs.

“It is heartbreaking that people who are mostly discriminated against and harassed at work are women. Even though the poor woman does not approve the way she is treated, she will not report the matter fearing to lose her job, most of these women are breadwinners so they ask themselves how they will survive if they are to lose their job,” she said.

She said child abuse, more especially in a girl child by their siblings, relatives or stepfathers has grown to alarming levels. She said while many families are aware of these issues, they did not report them to authorities.

Speaking to statistics, John said 67% cases of abuse of women, 62% of women who have acknowledged being abused - some of whom lost their lives in passion killings; were sexually abused and or beaten. She noted that men were mostly perpetrators, with 42% having admitted to be abusers. John said it was mainly poor women who were subjected to abuse.

Poverty plays a major role, explained John, adding that the study showed that women make 82% of those enrolled in Ipelegeng programme.

Veteran activist, Ntombi Setshwaelo said that culture has been used as a stick to gender and child abuse. She said the way children are brought up played a major role in female children being discriminated.

“It is always said a boy child ke tlhogo ya lelwapa. Ke monna mo lwapeng and he is always allowed idling about for no reason while a girl child is expected to do house chores. This made our boys to grow into irresponsible men and fathers. You will find men at bars at night while their wives are taking care of house chores and their children because they were groomed to do that,” she said.

She urged Batswana to change their ways and accommodate all so that men and women could live together in harmony and help each other move the country forward.

Other participants said that even though incest was common in many homesteads, family members failed to report such cases because they are either ashamed or want to protect family name or the perpetrator as he was the breadwinner.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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