Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Violence escalates among same sex relationships

Botswana Network on Ethics,Law and HIV/AIDs has registered increasing cases of  violence among people of same sex relationships.

This comes at a time when Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual and Transgender  are fighting the government over the recognition of  LBTI organization. 

The Botswana government is currently appealing a court ruling that instructed it to register the LGBTI rights based organization called LEGABIBO. 

BONELA fears that gender based violence among same sex relationships is escalating due to laws criminalizing same sex relationships. 

BONELA is also worried that the absence of laws that support the same sex relationships is fueling gender based violence among same sex relationships. 

BONELA, Director Cindy Kelemi revealed that gender based violence is fueled by laws that prohibit same sex relationships. 

Kelemi said that there could be more cases that go unreported since people fear that the law criminalizes same sex relationships.  

She emphasized that same sex partners fear to report gender based violence due to criminalization of consensual same relationships.

“In the absence of laws supporting same sex relations such cases could be more as people fear to report. We are currently investigating matters relating to such cases,” added Kelemi. 

According to BONELA, there were 15 cases of gender based violence reported in 2015.

Kelemi stated that they have tried to intervene to resolve such matters because it becomes difficult to refer cases of such nature to the police. 

One of the cases reported involved abusive relationship among gay partners in Gaborone.

According to BONELA a gay man had indicated that his partner was aggressive and continued to assault him. 

The victim had wanted his partner to be punished for his continuous abuse in order to stop him from assaulting him.  

BONELA stated that though they had advised him that they could get a restraining order the victim could not instruct them  to get a restraining order since he indicated that he wanted to continue with the relationship.

 BONELA said they referred the matter for counseling since the victim wanted to continue with the relationship.  In another case a rape and blackmail case was reported to BONELA. 

According to BONELA in one of the cases one of partners among two consensual gay adults who have been having sex reported a rape case. 

BONELA said that somebody who had wanted his partner to assist him  financially reported the matter to police claiming that he was raped by his partner after he failed to give him money for having had sexual intercourse.  

BONELA stated that the matter has since been taken to the magistrate court for prosecution. 

Mahalapye East MP, Botlogile Tshireletso says there is a need to look at the laws to stop gender based violence among the same sex relationships.

“I am aware of such cases but the problem is that the situation could continue since our laws prohibit same sex relationships,” said Tshireletso. 

She said it was worrisome that other communities are left behind on the issue of gender based violence. 

Human Rights Lawyer, Uyapo Ndadi has earlier criticized the Vice President , Mokgweetsi Masisi for suggesting that it was not a criminal offence to be a gay or a lesbian in Botswana, but it only becomes a criminal offence when they are  involved in sex.  

Ndadi stated that Masisi seems to suggest that gays and lesbian should not enjoy their  sexuality.

He said Masisi statements were self defeating by suggesting that it was not a criminal offence to be a gay or a lesbian in Botswana but only criminal when engaging in sex.

He went further to question why the VP wanted to restrict individuals who are  gays and lesbians  not to engage  in sexual activities. 

Masisi further stated that that it only becomes an offence when someone is involved in the unnatural act a statement that other’s called on VP to apologize for such statements.  

Francistown South MP Wynter Mmolotsi stated that there is a need to consider recognizing the lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender in the policy.

He said that discriminating them on the basis that gender only applies to a man and women was not good as it has become a norm that they are among the population.

Minister of Home Affairs, Edwin Batshu stated that there is a need for a debate that could inform laws that will help recognize other developments in the society.

 Batshu stated that the debate could also help to revisit the constitution which could unpack issues that block certain developments in relation to Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and transgender. 

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