, 15 October, 2020 / 9:26 PM
As residents of Botswana mark the month of October that is dedicated to creating awareness about gender-based violence (GBV) in the Southern African nation country, an appeal has been made to perpetrators to “exorcise” the vice.
In an October 14 reflection seen by ACI Africa, Bishop Frank Nubuasah of Botswana’s Gaborone Diocese calls for an end to GBV terming it as “a demon, a darkness of sin, and a shame.”
“Indeed, some of us are like unmarked graves hiding our dark sides yet parading to be good while we are monsters. Men, arise, let us exorcise the demon of gender-based violence from our midst,” Bishop Nubuasah says in the reflection posted on his Facebook page.
He adds, “Let us bring respectability to what it means to be human and masculine in particular. Let gender-based violence fall.”
According to the member of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD), the call to end GBV is a call to all humans to value and respect each other since we are all created equally in the image and likeness of God.
“You may be stronger, shorter, pale, colored, male, or female,” he says and continues, “The bottom line is that we have the same life force in us. When the final act of the show ends and the curtain draws to a close, we shall each go the way of our ancestors.”
The Bishop who has been journaling his daily reflections on Facebook amid COVID-19 says that unlike the welcome darkness that accompanies clouds before rains, the darkness of rampant abuse “brings no joy to anyone.”
In his reflection number 192 amid the pandemic, the Ghanaian-born Prelate acknowledges the impact of COVID-19 on families, noting that the pandemic has made homes “a fertile breeding ground for violence.”
He explains, “People who normally spend lots of time apart and only a couple of hours at home daily, now had to spend all their time together in a confined space. This brought darkness to what seemed like happy families before.”
“Dark clouds indeed cover homes where a spouse assaults and abuses the other,” the Bishop of Gaborone in Botswana says.
Making reference to police reports indicating that one child is raped daily on average in the landlocked country, the 71-year-old Prelate bemoans the “darkness of abuse of children some as young as two years both boys and girls” and terms the acts as “terrible.”
“The perpetrators are parents, siblings, close relatives or neighbors,” the Bishop observes.
According to statistics by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), over 67 percent of the women in Botswana have experienced abuse, a number that is higher than the global average.
As a way forward, Botswana’s Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane disclosed, in his October 9 address, that plans are underway to table a Bill in the next sitting of the country’s Parliament that seeks to ensure that perpetrators of GBV face “the wrath of the law.”
The Bill seeks to introduce a register where names of GBV perpetrators would be published and made available to the public, the Vice President said, adding that the Bill will seek to bar GBV perpetrators from working in areas with children such as in day care centers and other educational institutions.
In his October 14 reflection, Bishop Nubuasah further highlights other forms of violence rife in Botswana including murder among lovers, men raping their mothers and men sodomizing fellow men.
“What a shame!” the Bishop remarks and notes that due to shame, people “are unable to talk openly about these things. This is the darkness of sin.”
“You are made for love not violence,” he reflects in conclusion.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa