Botswana: It is through concerted and joined efforts through Gender Based Violence (GBV) can be eradicated. Officiating during the “The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence” commemoration by Botswana Prison Service in Gaborone, Deputy Commissioner Keneilwe Mokwenaotsile has said it is important that the nation is deliberate in ending GBV.
She said the 16 days of Activism are a sensitive time in which the survivors of GBV are remembered, who unfortunately still remain the female population, being women and girls.
DCP Mokwenaotsile stated that the campaign has been going on since 2008, and Botswana Prison Service saw it befitting to participate and honour the initiative.
She said the mandate of the Prison Service is such that ‘we interact with and are custodians to a population some of which are the perpetrators of Gender Based Violence’, hence the need to be seen to be active and pull all efforts towards their treatment and end of GBV.
She highlighted that Botswana Prison Service launched the Gender Based Violence – The Perpetrator’s Voice Programme in 2021 as an endeavour towards a concerted effort to act in a visible way to curb GBV.
She also expressed hope that this is the year in which the Service has reached great milestones in supporting endeavours towards gender equity and equality, which is critical in ending GBV, as evidenced by the launch of the Women’s Network.
“We need every individual to partner in activism, awareness, promotion of advocacy for survivors and stand in solidarity with all forms of individuals and organisations that are fighting day and night to see the end of this horrible scourge,” she said.
Giving a presentation on GBV, the Senior Gender Officer – Ministry of Youth, Gender, Sport and Culture (Gender Affairs Department), Mr Budani Madandume, said statistics show that 37% of women are affected by GBV in Botswana.
However, he was quick to point out that the percentage does not reflect the true picture on the ground as most of the cases are not reported.
He stated GBV comes in different forms, either physical or emotional, and very unfortunate that most cases go unreported because of threats from the perpetrators, who sometimes are fathers, uncles, siblings etc., to the victims.
Mr Madandume said according to the statistics, women and the girl child are not safe as they are mostly killed, threatened and raped. He highlighted that most incidents of GBV occurred during the covid-19 lockdown, especially cases of rape, defilement and incest.
He challenged every individual to talk, sensitise and spread the message wherever they are. He also urged the prisoners to form some groups in their cells and educate each other about issues of GBV.
He further pleaded with the victims, or whoever came across the act of GBV, to report to the relevant authorities so that innocent souls could be saved and the perpetrators are taken to book.
Mr Madandume commended Botswana Prison Service for being one of the leading organisations on issues of gender mainstreaming, as evidenced by the newly introduced Gender Based Violence Perpetrators’ Programme.
This year’s campaign is being commemorated under the theme “UNITE! To End Violence against Women and Children now.”
Botswana Prison Service commemorated the campaign with different activities at Francistown, Mahalapye and Gaborone.