GABORONE, Botswana, August 2020/ — Inspired by August being Women’s Month in our neighbouring South Africa, local model and former beauty queen, Nature Inger is standing firm to speak against gender-based violence (GBV) particularly rape and assault.
South Africa commemorates Women’s Month in August as a tribute to the more than 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 in protest against the extension of Pass Laws to women. The Government of South Africa declared August women’s month and 9 August is celebrated annually as Women’s Day.
Speaking to Botswana Unplugged this week, Nature said often times the global perception is that influencers or any popular persons should always be ones to speak out whenever there’s moral decay in the society.
However, the sassy model says the truth though is that everybody should make it their goal to speak against such societal ills so as to end the prejudice.
“This is not a task limited to influencers and popular people. This is a task for every citizen and resident of this country! We need to realize that this issue affects everyone. Statistics show that women, girls and trans people are raped and sexually assaulted at the highest rate, but we know that boys and men are raped and sexually assaulted too. Because of the stigma surrounding this topic, they often don’t end up reporting and so we don’t have statistics on it, but it happens! This is a national crisis. We all need to stand together, hold rapists accountable, hold ourselves accountable and hold our government accountable! If each person dedicates themselves to doing those three things, we can make Botswana the safest, peaceful and beautiful country we want it to be,” she said.
Speaking to the alarming Botswana numbers of criminal offenses of these prejudices against a small population, Nature said Botswana has laws that vehemently discourage such prejudices however, it’s time to review them again.
“The laws and the policies exist, although we will be pushing to have them reviewed, amended where necessary and tightened up too. We have to ask ourselves; If these laws and policies exist then why do we have rapists and repeat offenders walking free?
It’s not just about having the policies, it’s about following through with them and making sure that there is zero tolerance for rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment. Our leaders need to be clear and very public about the fact that they are committed to upholding a zero-tolerance policy and they need to follow-through with that and live by it on a daily basis.”
Steadfast in her quest to sensitize and show moral support to the victims, Nature is asking people to stand in solidarity with all the women and girls of Botswana by taking part in, and sharing the #everythreehours challenge on International Women’s Day (8th August 2020).
“On the 8th August 2020, post a picture of yourself and use the hashtag #everythreehours. Explain in your caption that you are taking part in the #everythreehours challenge and explain what the challenge is: Set your alarm to ring every three hours. Every time your alarm rings, take just one minute of your time to sit and think about the fact that someone just got raped. At the end of the day. Take some time to think about the fact that Botswana has the second highest rate of rapes in the world, then think about WHY!
The point of this campaign is to raise awareness, increase concern, reach and motivate the public to take action in an attempt to inspire societal behaviour change. Through the campaign, we are able to measure our outreach and also see which demographics we are reaching so we have a better understanding of where to focus our attention. For example, the campaign insights currently show that only 18% of the people engaging are male. We need more male leaders to set an example and stand in solidarity with us, because this is not just a female issue. It affects us all.”
Quizzed about any plans to erect structures and a centre where people particularly victims could have a new home, Nature said “it’s still early stage to think of it.”
“We do not have plans to establish a centre for survivors of rape and sexual assault, however we urge all those with existing centres or any other information or resources that will help survivors to reach out to us. Our main aim is to create solutions by addressing the issue itself and focusing on putting an end to rape by: Reviewing the laws and policies of Botswana, putting an end to victim-blaming, creating a culture of enthusiastic consent, learning and teaching others how to be more intersectional, listening to and supporting survivors and putting an end to rape culture as a whole.”