Department of Gender Affairs offers its support
While there is growing evidence that sexual harassment among women creatives is prevalent, effective prevention requires action to convey the message that sexual harassment is never acceptable. To specifically address Gender Based Violence (GBV), the Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs has adopted The National Strategy Towards Ending GBV that outlines specific activities that each sector has to undertake to address GBV as it presents in their environment.
“It is therefore imperative that the creative industry develop its own policy that aims to protect its members from harmful actions such as sexual harassment,” said the Director in the Department of Gender Affairs, Thapelo Phuthego. at the official launch of the Real Fight Against GBV. “I trust that the industry will initiate such action. “Let me assure you that we will fully support you, should you take the challenge.”
As the whole world, including Botswana, battles with COVID-19, GBV is a shadow pandemic that often becomes pronounced in emergencies. As at January 2021, a total of 4 996 GBV cases had been reported in Botswana. The Botswana National Relationship Study undertaken by the ministry in 2018 reflects that 37% of women and 21%men experienced some form of GBV in their lifetime. The study also found that 30% of men and 12% of women reported perpetrating violence. It revealed that 36% women and 18% men reported intimate partner violence.
Said Phuthego: “GBV is not just a national concern but a global pandemic. According to the World Bank (2019), 35% of women have experienced either physical and sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence, 7% of women have been sexually assaulted by someone other than a partner and as many as 38% of murders of women are committed by an intimate partner.”
The Department of Gender Affairs is responsible for promoting gender equality and empowerment of women who continue to be disadvantaged in various areas, including the creative industry. Their work is guided by the National Policy on Gender and Development which has priorities, including access to justice, protection of human rights and freedom from violence.