According to the world population review, of the reported cases Botswana has the 2nd highest rate of rape at 92.9 (number of incidents per 100, ooo citizens), which is highly concerning considering the small population of the country. "2 in 3 women have experienced gender violence in Botswana. Over 1 in 10 women (11%) reported non-partner rape. Almost 2 in 3 women (62%) report having experienced intimate partner violence in their lifetime.1 in 4 women (25%) and 1 in 5 men (21%) reported experiencing some act of sexual abuse as children (before age 18). Child abuse is underreported; however, Childline Botswana notes that child sexual exploitation is “rampant”, particularly in northern regions, and the second most commonly addressed issue (after neglect) for the 611 total calls to the Crisis Line in 2015. Almost 1 in 4 (23%) women and girls report experiencing sexual harassment in public spaces, including workplaces (18%) and in schools (9%).1 Although prohibited in the workplace (Section 38), sexual harassment is widespread in various employment sectors of Botswana but often goes unreported due to fear of victimisation and difficulties providing proof." (DFID VAWG helpdesk, May 2019 )
“Botswana’s only national survey of GBV prevalence levels revealed that GBV is vastly underreported; only 1 in 9 women who were raped reported it to the police. Despite ongoing attempts to address barriers to women’s access to justice, such as attitudes of justice sector officials and gaps in the legal framework, 26 successful conviction rates were less than 1% of GBV experienced.” (DFID VAWG helpdesk, May 2019). I believe one of the main reasons for this is because most cases are not followed through with the sensitivity and dedication required to bring the perpetrators to justice. Therefore the message that is being sent out to the nation is that sex crimes and gender based violence is not taken seriously hence perpetrators often go unconvicted by the law.
It has also come to my attention from several people on social media platforms that Police often lack sensitivity when dealing with rape victims and victims of gender based violence, which causes more embarrassment to victims.
I call on the Botswana High Court to establish special victims police units that will specifically deal with sex crimes and gender based violence, with trained personnel for the sensitivity of such crimes.
The Establish Special Victims Police Units in Botswana petition to Botswana High Court was written by Ludo Maphorisa and is in the category Law & Order at GoPetition.