BONELA Condemns Recent Cases of Domestic Violence

9 February 2009:
BONELA Condemns Recent Cases of Domestic Violence

The Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV and AIDS (BONELA) condemns the recent spate of domestic violence over the past two weeks in Botswana as reported in the media.

As a human rights organization, we are concerned over reports in various newspapers that outline shocking details of violence and the threat of violence in domestic relationships. This week alone, according to The Echo, a famous gospel singer in Botswana made headlines for the wrong reasons after his girlfriend whom he had fatally assaulted died while in hospital.

The Midweek Sun reported on the gruesome attack on a woman currently fighting for her life at Nyangagwe Referral Hospital. In a separate incident, a man was fatally attacked by the uncle of his girlfriend in Lephiri Lands. It is a shame that the deceased is alleged to have threatened to kill his girlfriend and her mother when the incident occurred.

In light of these reports, we call upon the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs in general and the Women’s Affairs Department in particular to intensify awareness-raising on the issue of gender-based violence as well as education on the Domestic Violence Act.

Through the Act, it is now possible to act on cases or threats of domestic violence. Bonela also encourages members of the public to save lives by being on the alert for cases of domestic violence and report them at the nearest police station or social service provider.

Gender inequality makes women more vulnerable to HIV and AIDS through violence or the fear of violence. This deters women from accessing HIV services, insisting on condom use, and disclosing their HIV status to their partners and healthcare services.