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Phikwe GBV cases on the rise

CONCERNED: Inspector Masabae

“PHIKWE HAS HIGHEST NUMBER OF RAPE AND DEFILEMENT” – COP

Police in Selebi Phikwe have expressed concern over the escalating number of Gender-Based Violence cases in the former copper mining town.

According to the Department of Gender Affairs’ 2018 study on leading GBV cities/towns/districts, Phikwe is ranked fourth after Kgalagadi South, North East and Chobe District respectively.

Speaking at a Gender Conference hosted by Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) last Saturday, Inspector Masabae said not a single day passes without a report of a GBV incident.

Masabae said this is despite the fact that they know that a lot of GBV cases are never reported.

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“The problem with not reporting these incidents is that, the same perpetrators will continue their reign of terror,” said Masabae.

Another hurdle in the fight against GBV, Masae said, was family members that defend and protect perpetrators, while other families accept monetary compensation to withdraw cases.

“It is really worrying to see a woman who was nearly beaten to death withdrawing the case, and as the police we’re helpless,” he said.

Masabae also encouraged men to report when they are being abused by their partners instead of dying in silence for fear of being considered not man enough.

“As the police, we’ve been accused of laughing at men when they come to report abuse cases. Not anymore, we take such reports seriously. There has been a change of mindset because if we don’t take such matters seriously we never know what such men may do once they get back home to their abusive partners,” said Masabae.

The Inspector said Phikwe has one of the highest numbers of rape and defilement cases in the country.

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“We also have a worrying number of threat to kill cases and assault common cases, and perpetrators in these cases are mostly men,” he said.

“Cases of assault common mostly affect women. Some are slapped across the face in front of kids. It always starts with a slap, then a kick, next it’s an Okapi knife that claims a life,” warned Masabae.

In his remarks, Selebi Phikwe Town Mayor Lucas Modimana said the high number of GBV cases in his town could be a turn off to potential investors.

Modimana said following the closure of the BCL mine, his town needs investors to help revive its ailing economy.

“The problem is investors look at such statistics and are discouraged. Who would want to live in a town where their children are likely to be raped?” asked Modimana rhetorically, further adding that GBV cases are inconsistent with the fundamental decency of citizens.

“This is not how Batswana are,” he said.

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Statistics

Rape: 2018(50), 2019(53), 2020(32)

Defilement: 2018(16), 2019(22), 2020(25)

Threat to kill: 2018(8), 2019(22), 2020(0)

Assault common: 2018(144), 2019(115), 2020(119)

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