Botswana: Women Bear Gender Based Violence Brunt

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Gaborone — Sixty-seven per cent of women in Botswana have experienced some form of Gender Based Violence (GBV) in their lifetime, including partner and non-partner violence, National Assembly deputy speaker, Mr Kagiso Molatlhegi has said.
Delivering a keynote address at the launch of the Botswana parliament's HeforShe solidarity campaign on November 27, Mr Molatlhegi said GBV was one of the most prevalent human-rights and gender inequality violations in Botswana, adding that protection of women and children from violence remained a challenge.
To address this challenge, he said there was need for more concerted and rigorous efforts by all stakeholders.
"We need more men as partners to condemn and fight for the elimination of GBV in our society," said Mr Molatlhegi.
He pleaded with all parliamentarians, men and boys to join the cause for the prevention and response to GBV through commitment to HeforShe campaign and urged all stakeholders to strengthen prevention and response of GBV at all levels of the society.
"During the 16 Days of Activism against GBV, let us renew our commitment to uproot GBV from our society to protect the vulnerable and ensure quality services for survivors at Police, hospitals and in courts," said Mr Molatlhegi.
Through the launch, he said Botswana Parliament had committed to the following HeforShe impacts commitments, to advocate for elimination of all forms of GBV- especially against women and girls, equal participation and representation of women in political decision making positions at all levels and women economic empowerment.
Such commitments, he said would be instrumental in increasing male involvement on gender issues, raising momentum to intensify gender dialogues, capacity building and advocacy for gender equality.
To support effective implementation of gender commitments made by Botswana, Mr Molatlhegi said parliamentarians, government, civil society, development partners, private sector and other stakeholders must unite.
"Our collective efforts must indeed make a difference in the lives of Batswana for gender equality and to ensure that no one is left behind," he added.
In her welcome remarks, Women's Parliamentary Caucus chairperson and also Local Government and Rural Development assistant minister, Ms Botlogile Tshireletso, said every woman, man, girl and boy had the right to live their lives without threat of violence.
The timing for HeforShe campaign launch themed: "Leave No One Behind: End Violence against Women and Girls," Ms Tshireletso said was befitting as it coincided with 16 Days of Activism against GBV global campaign spanning from November 25 to December 10.
HeforShe launch, she said was implementation of a decision made by the 39th Plenary Session of SADC-PF Plenary in Ezwulini, Swaziland that was held on 2nd June 2016 to have a Memorandum of Understanding between UN Women's Regional office for Eastern and Southern Africa and SADC-PF.
Through the MoU, she said the two organisations partnered in areas of mutual concern to enhance their development efforts, as well as enhance SADC-PF's initiatives on promoting gender equality and women's empowerment in political and socio-economic sectors in the SADC countries.
"As part of the partnership, SADC-PF and UN Women agreed to work together in supporting national parliaments in SADC to launch the HeforShe campaign," she added.
She said this year's theme for the global campaign was also in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and reinforced commitment to a world free from violence for all women and for all girls around the world.
UN Women officer in charge, Ms Magdeline Madibela congratulated Botswana Parliament for associating with the HeforShe solidarity movement for gender equality, saying the launch was a clear message that they were highly committed to human rights and justice, including gender equality.
"Gender equality is not only a basic human right, but its achievement has enormous socio-economic ramifications. Empowering women fuels thriving economies, sparing productivity and growth, yet gender inequalities remain deeply entrenched in every society and Botswana is not an exception," she said.
Sharing global highlights on some of the gender inequalities that still exist, Ms Madibela said violence against women and girls is one of the most wide spread, persistent and devastating human violations in the world.
According to UN Women, she said globally more than 1 in 3 women had experienced physical or sexual violence in their lives, whilst 715 million women were married before the age, which is child marriage.
"It is estimated that 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical or sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner at some point in their lives," she added
Giving a vote of thanks, Women's Parliamentary Caucus member and also Basic Education minister, Dr Unity Dow said official launch of HeforShe campaign by Botswana Parliament was an opportunity to celebrate and appreciate men and boys'contribution to gender equality and women's empowerment.
The campaign, Dr Dow said would encourage further action and commitment to enhance existing initiatives and efforts aimed at attaining Botswana's common development goals. BOPA
Source : BOPA