Reports of domestic violence in Lesotho are following a similar heightening trend like in other parts of the world, oﬃcials have said. The Lesotho Planned Parenthood Association’s (LPPA) on Saturday held its 49th Annual General Meeting, whose theme was heal the world; end gender based violence.
Speaking at the event, the acting principal secretary Ministry of Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation ’Mabataung Khalane, said recent statistics from the police’s Child and Gender Protection Unit (CGPU) show that during this period of the Covid-19 outbreak, the number of sexual violence cases increased. A few weeks ago, a student from Lerotholi Polytechnic was brutally raped and murdered by a group of boys in Thabong, Maseru.
Khalane said that was not the only case reported where women and girls were brutalised in various forms by men during this period. The attacks she said rob the nation of productive members of society who could contribute to the development of the country. She said there are challenges that are posed by gender based violence, adding that it is intertwined with Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRHR) which makes it a significant health, social and economic problem.
“It robs women and girls the ability to control their own sexual and reproductive health, placing them at greater risk of contracting HIV, sexually transmitted diseases, failure to plan their families, child spacing, unwanted pregnancy which might result in illegal abortions, due to inability to negotiate the use of condoms or other contraceptives with their partners. It is also a barrier to women in accessing health care services,” she said.
Gender Based Violence (GBV) as a global and public health problem as well as fundamental violation of women’s rights is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate and compromising position, he noted. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) one in three women worldwide has experienced either physical and/ or sexual violence perpetrated by an intimate or non-intimate partner.
Lesotho is no exception in this regard as a recent survey by Gender Links shows that 86% of women experience GBV one way or the other in their lifetime. Even though, there are other forms of GBV that women and girls are exposed to, physical and sexual violence represent a larger proportion of violations.