Men for Health and Gender Justice Organisation, is set to implement a project aimed at engaging men to take the lead in the fight against Gender Based Violence (GBV). Men have invariably been the primary perpetrators of GBV and this has influenced Men for Health’s decision to target them for the campaign. GBV Indicators Study conducted by the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs ,and Gender Links revealed that at least 63 percent of women have experienced some form of gender based violence in their lifetime and about 62 percent had experienced intimate partner violence; all at the hands of their male counterparts. “
Police statistics from the past decade show significant numbers of passion killings and sexual assaults on women. Because of the fluctuation, the figures cannot be used to represent either a decline or increase in such cases. Although records show a consistent increase in cases of passion killings between 2003 and 2005, the number reduced dramatically from 85 to 62 between 2005 and 2006, before surging to an incredible 101 in 2007. The year 2010 recorded the highest rate of passion killings in the past decade at 105 with 2013 having recorded the lowest, 40, by the end of July. The same fluctuations can also be witnessed in ‘indecent assault’ cases with 2012 recording the highest cases at 212. But whatever the figures, even a single case of GBV should be a cause for concern.
“Ending violence against women and achieving gender equality are goals that originated from the women’s movement,” says a statement from Men for Health. The statement says as a result, many people think of GBV and calls for equality as women’s issues, rather than part of a broader concern about human rights and social justice. “This keeps men and boys out of the spotlight and places the burden and responsibility on women and girls. In doing so, it also diverts attention from analysing the roots of violence and the role in maintaining an unequal power balance between men and women.” Thatayotlhe Molefe of Men for Health says men and boys have a great potential to become stronger allies in bringing an end to GBV. He says involving them is an essential part of prevention strategies. Although being the main culprits on issues of GBV, Molefe says males are also profoundly affected by violence.
“Boys may also experience violence early in their lives,” he says. “Little is known about the extent of physical and sexual violence against men within LGBT communities.” Men for Health says it is also for this reason that the project seeks to facilitate a process where men are sensitised and mobilised to get involved in strengthening the fight against violence. “The project is implemented in three prioritised areas: Gaborone, Selebi Phikwe, and Maun. It is intended to enhance the capacity of traditional leaders to develop strategies to address the varied impacts of GBV in their communities.” These community leaders, Men for Health says, will be chosen from traditionally male dominated critical sectors of the society such as the police, military, religious groups and other sections of society.