1, 200 RAPE CASES REPORTED ANNUALLY
A staggering average of 1 200 rape cases are reported country wide annually, Senior Assistant Commissioner Christopher Mbulawa of the Botswana Police Service has said.
Speaking at the launch of an anti rape campaign in Francistown last week Friday, Francistown City Council (FCC) mayor James Kgalajwe said perpetrators of sexual offenses should face the consequences.
“This is not a stone-age era where one could just commit an offense and expect to get away with. The law must take its course,” warned Kgalajwe.
At the same event, Francistown High Court Judge Justice Zibanani Makhwade said: “We hear and read about traumatic cases of sexual violence sometimes involving children under the age of one.”
Makhwade said rape is the most common of the sexual offenses and usually obtained by use of extreme force.
“It (Rape) could be false pretenses as to nature of the act (false healing) or by impersonating a partner. The other common offense is defilement,” said Makhwade
Defilement is having a sexual relationship with a person under the age of majority (thus 16 years in Botswana).
The understanding in the law is that a person under the age of 16 is too young to consent to sexual intercourse.
“Sexual offenses are more than physical acts,. They affect the dignity and self worth of the victim.” explained the judge.
Although sexual offenses usually occur outside the public eye, Makhwade said there are of course cases where perpetrators are ruthless and have no fear or respect for anyone.
“In such cases, the perpetrators would have the audacity to pull the victim from the public and threaten violence on anyone who dares to intervene,” he said.
Skhwebu Phama, the chief Social and Community Development (S&CD) officer with the City of Francistown said her office is currently dealing with not less than 20 cases of sexually related offences.
Phama lamented that her office is experiencing challenges to precisely deal with the matters because they do involve relatives and breadwinners of the victims.
“It is hard to gather the detailed information of what transpired. Most cases go unreported in the society because of fear, lack of knowledge and poverty,” she said.