Though gender based violence does not suggest or insinuate that its women exclusively being abused, however the mere mention of it has been, and continues to associate with men being the perpetrators and women being the victims. The fact that there are men who are victims to this vice is an unbelievable mania. Such men are considered sissies within societies, including Botswana’s.
Nevertheless, 2013 has been the third year in which men beat all odds set against masculinity by running away from abusive relationships to a facility designed for the women victims of violence-Woman’s Shelter.
Mpho Kelaotswe, a Counselor at the shelter said in 2011 alone, 57 men were counseled at the centre. The number rose with years to 70 by November 2013.
“The number ranged from one in January 2011, reaching the highest point of 10, that year September. In 2012, six men reported violence during the month of January alone. The number rose to 10 in July, dropped a bit to six in August, only to rise again to 10 in September that same year. By December that year 65 men’s reports were attended to,” said Kelaotswe.
She said in 2013 alone, ten men were attended to during the months of June and July. Seven of them brought complaints in the month of February, popular for it special lover’s day- the Valentine’s Day.
Asked of the kind of queries they raised she said they ranged from physical abuse to emotional and financial abuse. Men bring money home, only to discover later that the funds were not properly accounted for; an issue that would later see hell breaking loose and the man bearing insults and threats.
There also is issue frequent comparison of men by their partners with the successful ones, labeling them ‘losers’ and, to add salt to open sores, denial of conjugal rights. Some conflicts are triggered by denial of access to their children by their partners, but demanding that they avail financial support for such children.
While it might look awkward as an uncommon practice, counselors interpret it as a positive development since it might be a sign for the gender equality that women activist advocate for. Their observation is that the long time result for this could probably be reduced incidences of domestic violence.
It remains to be seen whether the men in the country would come to the reality that the times of physical approach to everything is over. That the saying that men are stronger sex is myth. It is only through this approach that they can consider having facilities like women’s shelter.