MAUN: Authorities here have noted an alarming increase in rape incidents apparently fuelled by binge drinking and stubborn misconceptions among perpetrators.
According to one elder, some young men in the village believe buying alcohol for ladies means an automatic pass for casual sex. The misconception is believed to be behind the rising rape cases.
Maun is, undoubtedly, a revellers’ Mecca where residents and visitors alike engage in endless drunkenness. The village’s Maun residents are understood to be among the country’s biggest binge drinkers and there have been reports of weekend sex orgies.
In one of the rape cases recorded earlier this year, a woman coming from a nightclub allegedly woke to find an unknown man raping her in the middle of night.
She had initially thought it was her boyfriend only upon touching found the man had dreadlocks unlike her boyfriend.
In other cases, women have discovered that they have been sexually used by “invisible strangers” without even noticing.
At a recent gender workshop, Maun Police Gender focal person, Kefiloe Ntu said while some women are raped because they are incapable of declining sexual advances after over-indulging. In such cases, the men “cash in” on drunkenness to “score” a one night stand. “Men think that by accepting their offers of beer, women are actually saying yes to sex,” she said.
“Police through the Women Crime Network at Maun Police Station are regularly conducting public education campaigns to warn about the dangers of alcohol abuse.”
Head of the Ngami District Health Team, Christopher Chembe revealed that in some of the cases women are raped without any condom use, which puts them in danger of contracting HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections.
A participant at the workshop, Peter Ngoma argued that authorities need to look at the issue closely to understand the contributing factors.
One of the factors, other participants observed, was that some club and bar owners fail to observe stipulated operating hours.
Chembe said there was need for a detailed study on alcohol abuse, rape and assault cases.
“The Ministry of Health is currently undertaking public education throughout Botswana against the dangers of alcohol abuse,” he said.
The Coordinator of Women Against Rape (WAR), Peggy Ramaphane however said the idea that rape was on the rise in Maun could be deceptive.
“There is no need to be alarmed as Maun is doing better than other areas in Botswana in terms of containing rape,” she said.
‘‘The rape statistics in Maun reflect an even worst situation in other parts of Botswana. It shows that here rape is getting reported which is not the case elsewhere.
“At WAR we have been instrumental in helping victims of rape to access justice hence this statistics.”