Gender-based violence (GBV) in Botswana is increasingly becoming a monster competing for resources against noble needs such as health, education and food.
This hampers women’s development prospects and instead engenders a cycle of economic dependence of men by women.
According to a 2011 study commissioned by the government and the non-governmental organization Gender Links, the prevalence of violence against women was 67% in Botswana.
This means that at least two-thirds of women in Botswana were victims of violence that year and this only applies to reported cases.
The study shows that 62 percent of the women sampled have experienced abuse in intimate relationships.
Statistics released this week by the Botswana Police Service paint a picture of worsening violence against women in Botswana. According to Chief Superintendent Dipheko Motube, in the first quarter of 2015 alone, 64 cases of murder and attempted murder were reported to have been committed against women.
This figure is compared to 261 similar offenses in 2014. A total of 142 death threats were reported during the first quarter of the year, compared to 619 for 2014 as a whole, while at least 4,480 cases of assault single facts were reported in the first three. months of the year, compared to 16,847 cases for 2014.
“We registered 8,145 actual bodily harm offenses in 2014, while in the first quarter of 2015, we registered 2,137 such offenses.
138 more cases of indecent assault on women were reported to us in 2014, while for the first three months of 2015 we had 46 cases, ”Motube said.
Police received 536 cases of rape and attempted rape in the first quarter compared to 2,034 for 2014 as a whole, while 137 incidents of defiling of girls under 16 were recorded in the first quarter, compared to the last year.
“The main causes of GBV in Botswana are binge drinking and alcohol abuse, cohabitation, juvenile delinquency and women’s dependence on men,” Motube explained.
Police have since established GBV focal points in police centers as a means of tackling the vice, Motube said.
According to the 2015 SADC Gender Protocol Barometer national report released earlier this month, although there is a large and growing body of knowledge on violence against women, the most common form of violence is more serious – the murder of women by their male partners – has received little attention. .
“Almost all cases of men killing women occur in the context of an ongoing intimate relationship. Most cases of domestic violence go unreported because many women cannot afford to put their husbands, the main breadwinners, in prison, ”the report said.
The report’s researchers further claim that GBV has a number of costs ranging from social, time, physical and mental health expenses.
Equally important are the costs borne by survivors and their families, who often compete with the living expenses of food and education, researchers.
Therefore, GBV hinders economic development at the personal, family, community and macro levels.
“Gender-based violence has quantifiable economic costs, although these do not accurately reflect the magnitude, as many cases go unreported. Research in Africa has shown that the response to GBV costs countries significant sums that stakeholders could use for development.
The monster that is GBV further increases the risk of adverse effects on women’s health.
Globally, the extent and scale of violence against women has a huge negative impact both on individuals and on society as a whole.
These include increased rates of injury, morbidity, mortality, sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV / AIDS, and the health risks associated with unwanted pregnancies, the researchers said.
“Exposure to violence against women dramatically increases other risk factors for the health of survivors, including an increased likelihood of early sexual debut, forced sex, transactional sex, and uninvited sex. protected. “