Cases of gender-based violence (GBV) have spiked over the past three weeks, a spokesperson for the Botswana Gender-Based Violence Prevention and Support Centre, Lorato Moalusi, has disclosed. A total of 114 GBV cases covering three weeks up to April 21 were reported to Kagisano Society Women Shelter Project an NGO that now houses 43 women at its shelter.
“This is a sharp increase compared to months before the lockdown and is disturbing,” Moalusi said in an interview. “We have offered counselling to 71 distressed victims whom we are in contact with to improve their mental health. We are mostly dealing with issues of women who are emotionally and physically abused while some have relationship problems.”
The spike in GBV in Botswana mirrors an ugly global trend that coincides with lockdowns for control of COVID-19 almost everywhere. According to the United Nations, the combination of economic and social stresses brought on by the pandemic, as well as restrictions on movement, have dramatically increased the numbers of women and girls facing abuse in almost all countries