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MEN ABUSED TOO

Tlotlo Mbazo

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MISTER MINISTER: Ngaka Ngaka

National Relationship Study launched this week reveals that Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Botswana is relatively high with both women and men at risk.

The Study includes for the first time men’s experiences of violence not just as perpetrators but as GBV survivors as well. It also cements that patriarchal attitudes play a huge role in driving GBV both for women and men with such attitudes perpetuating rape culture and encouraging the culture of silence, as survivors fear secondary victimisation.

The Study that was unveiled in Artesia by the Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs, Ngaka Ngaka reveals that 37 percent of women have experienced some form of GBV in their lifetime including partner and non-partner violence, with 30 percent of men reported as perpetrating GBV.

On the other hand 21 percent of men interviewed reported experiencing some form of violence, while 12 percent of women reported continued GBV in their lifetime.The study measures the extent, risk factors, determinants and effects of GBV. In addition, it explores the current GBV response with implications for prevention, treatment, care and support and recovery interventions. Minister Ngaka said at the launch of the Study on Tuesday that Botswana is the first SADC country to conduct a follow-up Study to the initial 2012 study.

Botswana is also the second country in the region after Seychelles to undertake a comprehensive GBV Study that encompasses both Violence Against Women (VAW) and Violence Against Men (VAM). “The Study broke new ground as it increased the 2012 Study sample size 10 times, covering all districts, thereby allowing disaggregation of results by districts,” Ngaka said. According to the Study, most of the violence reported occurs in intimate relationships. This is showed by 36 percent of women who reported experiencing violence in an intimate relationship, while 26 percent of men reported perpetrating Intimate Partner Violence (IPV).

Emotional Intimate Partner Violence was the most common form of IPV experienced by women at 31 percent and perpetrated by men at 17 percent. The study further shows that 15 percent of women reported experiencing abuse in pregnancy and these are relatively low levels of non-partner rape reported by women at five percent and one percent for men as rape statistics recorded by the Botswana Police Service and Shelters.

“These statistics require all of Batswana to deeply interrogate them and introspect so that we develop targeted interventions that will address the root cause of the problem across the country,” Minister Ngaka said. The Study suggests that emotional partner violence and physical violence are the most common forms of GBV respectively. It further states that men are less likely to report their experiences of violence.

Alcohol consumption has been found to increase the risk of IPV experience and perpetration. It adds that Shelter services in Botswana are not proportionate to the needs of GBV survivors.These findings, according to Ngaka place Botswana within the World Health Organisation global GBV estimates, which indicate that about one in three women worldwide have experienced some form of violence.

Minister Ngaka says to address the situation, government will put in place a more robust Monitoring and Evaluation Framework in every district as well as development of a comprehensive prevention strategy that includes interventions at all levels of the ecological model; individual, relationship, community and societal.

The Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs will also work with relevant stakeholders to develop a comprehensive system for GBV management including psychosocial support. In addition, GBV Referral System will be strengthened to improve coordination of partners’ activities in addressing multifaceted challenges of GBV as well as improving access to comprehensive quality services for GBV survivors.

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A welcome snitch

Yvonne Mooka

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CELLPHONE TRACKER: Tebogo Aaron says criminals have labelled him a snitch for helping the police track people’s stolen property

Tebogo Aaron works hand-in-hand with Botswana Police Service to track down missing and stolen cellphones.

In an interview with The Midweek Sun, the 38-year-old man from Mahalapye says that on average, he traces between 25 and 50 mobile phones per day. He runs a store called Gadgets + Collectables, with two branches in Airport Junction and Phakakane’s Acacia mall.

Even though he sells a variety of gadgets, among them cellphones, Bluetooth speakers, laptops, it is the business of cellphone tracking that has given him a niche in the market. The Business Management and IT graduate says that his cellphone tracking business makes him stand out. “We are now in the era of cellphones. Almost every person has a cellphone and again, people steal them at a high rate,” he says.

Aaron provides police with leads, allowing them to do recoveries. He helps people who come with a police affidavit. “I have attracted hate from thugs thinking I’m a snitch,” he laughs.
But how long does it take for him to track down a cellphone? He says that the gadget becomes traceable the moment a sim card gets inserted inside.

His observation is that people have a tendency of buying stolen gadgets something he says is risky as one ends up charged by the police for buying a stolen item.
“Thugs steal phones with the intention to sell them, not to keep them. They want fast cash,” he says. And he says that thieves would go to an extent of creating fake Facebook pages to sell their stolen cellphones.

“Immediately after selling them, they delete the social media accounts while the buyer is left with it. People must take precaution,” he says. One of the people who have benefited from Aaron’s service, Lerato Lepang says her phone and wallet were snatched from her on June 4 in Molepolole.

“I reported with the police. A week later I heard of Gadgets + Collectables and decided to give it a shot. I went to the store on July 13 with a police affidavit as well as my phone details.“Five days later I received a call from them saying they had details of someone who had my phone,” she says. Another person Masego Mokgwatlheng says Aaron managed to recover her phone after a month in June.

She had forgotten it in a cab and traces showed that the cab driver had sold it to a Zimbabwean man. “I am now using my phone. It was made easier because I had a police affidavit,” she says. In addition to cellphone tracking, Aaron also tracks lost or stolen pets, bicycles and luggage. He has five employees.

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Mixed reactions to Masisi’s law on home-operated businesses

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President Mokgweetsi Masisi intends to simplify the process of starting micro-businesses to make it less demanding. This entails retracting licenses for starting small businesses such as tuckshop, manicures and many others.

The Midweek Sun went out on the streets to hear views of the people about the new bill.A boutique owner based in Kanye Thapelo Dioka said it is a good initiative but he worries that Batswana will even set-up businesses which are not environmentally friendly.

“I have long struggled and been unable to rent out my spare bedrooms to try feed my family, due to stringent procedures of acquiring licenses,” said Dioka. Kolobetso Maswabi lamented that for a long time young people have been paying expensive rentals. The new law will help in starting and maintaining businesses as there will be no rentals to pay.

“For some of us who stay next to big malls the law will be an advantage, I am going to operate business in the backyard,” she says. However some had doubts about the new law, describing it as a campaign strategy and a desperate effort to gain political mileage. They will only believe it when it is signed into law.

“Why would he retract licenses when elections are about to take place and there is a need for them to explain more on what they mean about small scale businesses,” asked another entrepreneur.

Tiraone Basenyafela, an entrepreneur with disability who does leather works, lamented that they have long endured charges for licenses and at times failure to renew the licenses results in losing them.

“I believe that only big shops should be required to have licenses, not small businesses and struggling individuals like me,” said Basenyafela.

President Masisi explained that the new law intends to help Batswana improve their livelihoods and graduate from poverty, but added that licenses will still be required for those seeking to deal in food businesses and others that could be potentially unfriendly to the environment.

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