Sebina Leaks controversy spurs Batswana into action
- Children flock to social media for assistance with sexual abuse cases
- Big march against sexual abuse expected on Saturday
#iShallNotForget, an activism movement was born this past weekend following the case in which the family of a 16 year old Form 4 girl from Sebina village- confirmed she was impregnated by area councillor Kemmoye Amon.
The controversy which took a life of its own on social media following details which purported to show Amon and Assistant Minister Fidelis, Molao seeking to conceal, pay off or get rid of the problem- motivated people in Gaborone to gather on Sunday to devise an action plan which will see to it that perpetrators of sexual abuse are exposed.
One of the founders of the movement, Tumie Mohousa says they will on Saturday start with a march from Bontleng to Gaborone Senior School to sensitize people about the issue. “We are currently drafting a petition to involve everyone to stand against sexual abuse. “…Child sexual abuse affects many children and young teens every year. Though sexual abuse is all too common, many adults are unprepared or unwilling to deal with the problem when faced with it, leading to under-reporting of the crime and stigmatizing of the victim.”
She said an atmosphere of silence and poor communication around sexuality has contributed to child sexual abuse and its concealment by the parents. Mohousa said their hope is that the movement will empower young people to report sexual abuse cases and can prepare parents and youth-serving professionals to recognize the signs of child abuse and take appropriate action.
According to Mohoasa, the movement will not be politically allied with anyone because they do not want to put out a message that they will only go after certain people. “We do not want such alignment because we also don’t want to alienate with anyone. This is a bigger picture issue and we will not forget, we are not letting it go. People are angry right now but let’s never forget!”
Another Founder of the movement; Setho Mongatane said they started with creating a Facebook page on Saturday which quickly gained momentum, and some children started asking for assistance to be removed from environments of sexual abuse. “We started this group because we wanted to do a mass demonstration but then we started getting in-boxes from children who have been through the same ordeal and didn’t know how to get assistance. I had to look for channels to help them and it was a very hard and long process. Right now they are somewhere because they have been telling a story and no one was listening.”
She said they are now trying to get other Batswana to understand that this is bigger that taking just two people out of power but ensuring the safety of children the nation over. “…We are saying we are standing up today as parents to say we are here and our message must be holistic and practical. So we must also in our search involve NGOs and look for shelters to help children that reach out for help.”
Mongatane said they already have some lawyers, psychologists and NGOs who have pledged to help them in their quest to seek justice and a better life for abused children. She said these people will be their first contacts when a child comes to report an abuse issue. Their fear, she said, is that they are going to find themselves overwhelmed because many people are already seeking their assistance: something for which they want to establish channels on how they are going to operate.
• A child is someone below the age of 18 years- Children’s Act, 2009.
• Penal code states defilement of under 16 year olds
• Children’s Act Part II (3) states that where there is conflict or inconsistency between the provision of the Act and any other legislation, the Children’s Act shall take precedence, except where the exercise of the rights set out in the Act has or would have effect of harming the child’s emotional, physical, psychological or moral being, or of prejudicing the exercise of the rights and freedoms of others, national security, the public interest , public safety, public order, public morality or public health.