Religious leaders and civil society in the North West are calling for a shift in mindset on gender-based violence. The call was made at a two-day Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Dialogue in Dinokana village in Lehurutshe, near Zeerust.

The dialogue was part of the nationwide 16 Days of No Violence Against Women and Children campaign.

One of the survivors told those gathered about how she was abused by her boyfriend in 1994. The abuse was followed by a rape, from which she got pregnant. Her cousin was the culprit in the crime. She says the matter was swept under the carpet as the family deemed it an embarrassment.

“After I was raped, I got traumatised because it was something that I had never ever experienced. I tried to get help but I did not get it. At that time our parents regarded rape as a shameful act. So for me, it was worse because it was  my cousin who raped me and the family decided to settle the matter domestically regarding it as an embarrassment to also our society.”

Meanwhile, churches say the root causes of some GBV is anger and low self-esteem.

Church leader, Bishop Daniel Matebesi, says a programme of action will be tabled to address the scourge.

“We want to establish what is called the Ramotshere Moiloa gender-based violence forum where all civil society organisation, religious organisation, government departments… we will sit down and plan, develop a program of action where we will address this pandemic of gender-based violence in our area.”

GBV victims to get counselling, support at Thusanang Trauma Centre in Lichtenburg: