Peer pressure makes young women vulnerable to GBV

Date: November 21, 2012
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Written by *Kebareng

My name is Kebareng. My daughter was always my best friend. We shared everything in the house, the food, the bed, the good and the bad times. We came to Maun in 2006. She was doing form one at Sedie CJSS.

One day she went to school as usual and never returned in the afternoon as she usually did. I drove to school to check on her. There was no one at the school. I was so worried. At around 6pm I heard a car stopping outside. I went to the door and opened it; I saw a van full of students in uniform with three teachers. Two students held my daughter. She could not walk and I thought she was hit by a car. The two teachers took me inside the house.She told me an 18- year old classmate wearing boots had kicked her.

They went on to tell me the incident happened at around ten in the morning and my daughter was taken to the hospital. I took her to the pastor for prayer and then back to the hospital because she could not breathe well. After a week, I took her to the hospital and I called the young man’s sister to discuss the issue. He receivedfive strokes on the buttocks and told to keep on checking the condition of my daughter.

He never came back or phoned. I went to church and met him. He did not say anything to me. I stopped going to the church and my daughter refused to go to school because the young boy and his friends threatened to beat her. I went to school to tell the school headmaster. Furious, he asked me to take my daughter out of their school.

I went to Women Against Rape (WAR) for counselling. They promised to follow up the case but nothing happened. I sent my daughter to Okavango English Medium School.

One day she and her friends came home crying and reported that the boy who beat her was accusing her of influencing the other girls to turn him down when he asked them out. At that time I learnt that my daughter was in love with my neighbour’s son who was much older. My daughter started to sneak out and disappeared from home for up to five days.
My neighbours would tell me that they saw her with a much older man. I asked WAR and the police to assist in searching for my daughter. The police took the young man with them for interrogation and he told them he started sleeping with my daughter when she was 13 and took her to his mother’s place and that the mother is aware of their relationship.

My daughter, the young man, his parents, and I met. My daughter said she is in love with the man. She said she hates me and that I was a witch because I want to separate her from the man she loves. I received counselling and prayers from WAR. My daughter attempted suicide twice.

I thought of taking my daughter out of the expensive boarding school.Unhappy with the suggestion, I took her to WAR again where she got counselling. She agreed to go to boarding school.

I took her to Popagano CJSS in Sepopa and asked the teachers if she could repeat form two. The first term she told me she did not like the school as it was far from me and too remote. I convinced her that distance does not matter, only her education. She is now enjoying the place.

When she came home for the holidays, she confessed to peer pressure influencing her behaviour. She asked me to forgive her. We both cried. I prayed and thanked God for answering my prayers.

My daughter has started Scripture Union at school and is preparing her first gospel album. During the holidays my daughter is always at home helping me. On Sundays she goes to church and participates in church activities. When she wants to go somewhere she asks for permission. Her behaviour has completely changed. She is guiding other students.”
Kebareng’s* story shows that young women are very vulnerable to GBV for various reasons including peer pressure, low self esteem and poverty. The prevalence study showed that nine percent of the women in the sample had experienced sexual harassment at school. The case study also shows why it is important to raise awareness and implement prevention strategies early.

*Not her real name.

This story is a personal account that is also used in The Gender Based Violence Indicators Study Botswana by Gender Links and Women’s Affairs Department, Botswana.


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