During this period set aside specifically for activism against Gender Based Violence, focal persons relevant to gender issues across the country are taking advantage of various forums to voice concerns regarding gender based violence.
The Botswana Association for Psychosocial rehabilitation recently made an appearance at the commemoration of people living with disabilities in Lobatse. They explained their role, actions and the setbacks they endure.
Gaone Makambe, an orphans and vulnerable children’s officer, said many girl children who they look after and who have mental and physical disabilities become the prey of adult males. After making sexual advances, the men would then sexually assault the girls.
Periodically, the Association conducts impromptu home based visits to families with children living with disabilities and orphans to make assessments on their overall care and living conditions.
Through these assessments, they are able to identify signs of abuse through verbal and physical communication.
“We report these cases to the Botswana Police and to social workers for further intervention,” said Makambe.
Often, the rest of the family sides with the perpetrator, putting pressure and this can put on the child to withdraw the allegations. The sexual predators end up going back home, exposing the child to the same dangerous environment they were in before.
Meanwhile, Lobatse Mayor, Caroline Lesang, has said empowering people living with disabilities from a tender young age is important. She said Botswana should learn from other countries, nurture the talents of the people living with disabilities, citing music and sports as avenues to consider when taking this approach.
“I would love to see Batswana take part in the next Paralympics games,” said Lesang. She also encouraged the community to register members of their families who were living with disabilities so that they can take full advantage of government policies in place to aide them with their everyday lives.