- Minister Tumiso Rakgare rattles off alarming statistics of rape and defilement and how children and the youth are increasingly affected by the scourge in the midst of a society ravaged by Gender-Based Violence
Violence against women and children has been cited globally as the most pervasive violation of human rights and the least prosecuted crime that continues to remain one of the greatest threats to peace, security and development.
This was said by the Minister of Youth, Gender, Sports and Culture, Tumiso Rakgare, at the launch of 16 Days of Activism Against Violence on Women and Children in Mogoditshane recently.
“It is essential to recognise that Gender-Based Violence knows no boundaries as it affects people of all ages, races, socio-economic backgrounds and identities,” he said.
Violence against children
“This has been revealed by statistics from the 2018 National Relationship Study which presented a prevalence of 37 percent among women and 21percent among men.
“The 2019 Violence Against Children Survey also revealed that on average, 28.4 percent female and 43 percent male children in Botswana experience physical violence.”
Rakgare noted that from January to June this year, 5208 out of 16 447 cases reported to the police were GBV-related. He described as “shocking” the fact that 1151 and 991 of the 5208 reported cases were of rape and defilement respectively and that these increasingly children and the youth aged between zero and 18 years.
Assault and 13 to 18-year olds
“This trend still obtained in the years of 2021 and 2022 with statistics of 2111 and 2033 for the year 2021 and 2481 and 2059 for 2022,” he said. “Other offences include Assault Common and Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm where 13 to 18-year olds are mostly affected.
“Coming closer to home covering Mogoditshane, Sir Seretse Khama Airport, Gaborone West, Naledi and Ramotswa police stations, from January to June 2023 a total of 446 GBV-related cases were recorded out of 2617 reported cases.
“Sadly the majority of them involve children. Out of the 446 cases, 183 were rape cases, among them a case of a child aged between 0 to 5 years, 40 involving those between 6 and 12 years, 60 involving those aged 13 to 15 years and 82 aged 16 to 18 years.”
Minister Rakgare asserted that the alarming prevalence of GBV affecting children is a grave societal concern that demands urgent attention and comprehensive action.
He appealed to Batswana to collectively commit to breaking the cycle of violence, ensuring that every child can grow up in an atmosphere of love, respect and security.
“To achieve meaningful progress to end GBV, we must engage in open and honest conversations about the root causes of GBV and challenge the stereotypes and norms that perpetuate inequality,” he said.