Sub Inspector Doreen Rammai of Kutlwano Police station (Francistown), says cohabitation is one of the major contributors to gender based violence (GBV) incidents. Speaking at the Institute of Development Management (IDM) on Thursday, Rammai said most women who are abused are co-habiting with their partners.
“During our investigations, we found out that most women opt to cohabit due to economic hardships that they face on daily basis. Some do not report such cases to the police because of their financial reliance on the perpetrators of such offences. We have witnessed that cohabitation is rampant especially in urban areas like Francistown,” she pointed out.
According to Rammai most women who live with their unmarried partners are being assaulted and raped. She added, “Some men who are cohabiting with their partners end up being violent to their girlfriends because they provide all their needs. I urge women to stand up for their rights and report such cases so that we can end gender based violence. Even if someone is providing for your needs, that do not give him the liberty to abuse you,” she divulged. Rammai went on to say that in some instances boyfriends even threaten to kill their live in lovers. In worst scenarios, some women are brutally murdered by their cohabiting partners, leaving parents and loved ones heart broken, Rammai said.
The police officer said women who are experiencing any form of abuse be it physical, emotional or psychological should seek help from law enforcement officers, social workers and tribal leadership. She promised students that at Kutlwano police they treat gender based violence cases with total confidentiality. “At times we refer gender based violence victims to organizations that provide shelter to them as a way of protecting their lives,” she noted.
Rammai said another factor that increases GBV cases is drug and alcohol abuse especially among the youth. Some of the cases that we have recorded have shown that some men abuse their partners under the influence of drugs. Rammai observed that some women have contracted HIV virus after being raped by men who were under the influence of drugs.
Speaking at the same event, IDM Campus Manager, Elijah Moakofhi revealed that the institution organized the occasion to sensitize students about social ills such as GBV and substance abuse which are currently bedevilling the society. Moakofhi admitted that students as part of the community are either affected directly or indirectly by such social ills and at times they end up not performing well academically.