Emang Basadi Perturbed by Rising Levels of GBV 

  • Calls for specific GBV section in Botswana’s new constitution
  • Says recent incidents indicate an increase caused by male soldiers




Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is one of the most devastating, persistent and widespread human rights violations in the world and a major concern in Botswana, Emang Basadi Women’s Association has said.


The women’s rights organisation describes GBV as any act of violence that results in or is likely to result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering, as well as threats, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether in the public or private sphere.

“Over two thirds of women in Botswana (67 percent) report having experienced some form of gender violence in their lifetime, including partner and non-partner violence,” it says in a statement released recently.

Sexual exploitation

“Certain groups of women and girls are particularly vulnerable to GBV, including women and girls with disabilities, adolescent girls, women living with HIV/AIDS, and orphans and other children vulnerable to sexual exploitation and abuse.

“Most gender violence occurs in intimate partnerships and statistics of men vulnerable to GBV tends to be less when compared to women.”

Emang Basadi states how it is disturbed by the high levels of GBV in Botswana, particularly intimate partner violence and rape of women and girls. The statement notes that Emang Basadi does not support violence against men and continues to monitor the trend.

Botswana notorious for rape

According to a report by the World Population Review’s rape statistics of 2021, Botswana leads all countries in the world at 92.93 per 100,000 people.

Recent incidents indicate an increase in GBV caused by male soldiers after a male solider recently killed his wife and a girlfriend. In 2019-2022, there were media reports that indicated that some male soldiers murdered or stabbed their wives to death.

In another recent incident, a 40-year-old man killed his 34-year-old wife in the course of a counselling session at the Botswana Gender-Based Violence Prevention & Support Centre.

Male politicians are also increasingly accused of GBV. Emang Basadi says it is also disturbed by growing cases of missing persons with missing body parts affecting young people in Botswana.

Policies and laws

The women’s rights organisation is now calling for a range of policy and legislative measures against GBV to be included in the Constitution of Botswana that was recently reviewed.

These include effective implementation, resourcing and coordination of the national strategy to end GBV, development of a law on GBV, and reviewing of penal code provisions that are considered a stumbling block to addressing GBV.

The Emang Basadi statement notes that Botswana still lacks skills and resources to accommodate people with disabilities. It says collaboration between the government, relevant stakeholders and NGOs is important to change the negative cultural mindset and perceptions about women, including women with disabilities, to ensure equal power relations.

Botswana also needs to intensify its efforts to combat trafficking of persons, notably of women and children. Emang Basadi wants fines as punishment removed from the Anti-Human Trafficking Act of 2014 and criminal penalties and prison sentences for human trafficking increased.

Ritual killings 

The women’s rights organisation wants laws that focus on ritual killings to deal with the scourge effectively. It calls for vetting politicians and GBV policies in political parties, as well as compilation of disaggregated and comprehensive data on firearms-related cases of violence against women.

When it participated in the review of the 1966 constitution, Emang Basadi’s submissions to combat GBV included strengthening of existing shelters for victims and improved access to protection services.

It noted that a feature of the most recent constitutions is that they specifically mention GBV and measures required to address it.

Zim constitution

For example, Zimbabwe’s constitution states that all institutions and agencies of government must protect and foster the institution of the family and adopt measures for the prevention of domestic violence.

Emang Basadi considers it important that women and girls who encounter violence are supported by, for example, ensuring they have access to justice, shelter and protection, whether violence is domestic or in the work place.

To break the GBV cycle, it calls for policy interventions to focus on the longer-term by changing discriminatory social norms and closing gender gaps, whether they are educational, economic or social in nature, as well as building awareness about GBV.