Botswana: GBV affects men too

Botswana: GBV affects men too

Date: December 21, 2017
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By Gomolemo Rasesigo

I am a forty year old man called Tiro who stays in the Ngwaketse area. I work at the secondary school in the area. I am living such a hard life.

I was married once and ended up divorcing with my wife. We have 2 children together and during our marriage all we ever did was fight.

My wife did not want me helping out with my family especially my mother but she only wanted me to help her relatives’ side.

We ended up divorcing officially. After the divorce I met another woman but we are not married. My problem now with my current relationship is that the woman does not want my child from the previous marriage.

Whenever I buy things like furniture she insists that I use her names even though she is unemployed and I am the bread winner. She spends the whole day at home and does not make much effort in doing any house chores.

She is expecting and keeps on telling me that the child is not mine. I have tried to ask her to move out but she refuses and tells me she wants clothes and other items for the baby who she told me is not mine. She also says she will not move and leave her furniture in my house though I had already bought of the items in the house before I met her. We are always fighting and have been to the police several times, they say I should take her back to her parents.

I am happy because I have been enlightened about gender based violence and I know realise that I have been living in an abusive relationship for a long time. I will go to the social workers to ask for help.”

The preceding narration is one of the many stories I have come across as I engaged with men across Botswana to hear their views on gender based violence (GBV). Men suffer from abuse contrary to the believe that only women who suffer from abuse. For a long time men have not been engaged in talks of abuse as they have been viewed as perpetrators of abuse.

From the workshops some of them were not even aware of what constitutes GBV. Most of them understood GBV only as physically assault. It emerged during our discussions that most of the men in that group were suffering emotional abuse. Hence the need to work with women in order to resolve domestic conflicts Most of the men agreed that they too needed to be positive role models to their children especially the boy child.

To get men involved in conversations about various issues Men Sector has set up committees across the country to engage with men at all levels. The Gender Links initiative was seen as a positive thing by men as it gave them a platform to discuss other forms of abuse that are not usually talked about. The office will continue to engage men in future in order to make them be part of the solution to ending GBV.


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