LOCAL non-governmental organisation (NGO) She-Hive Association Lesotho says it has shifted its focus to addressing the root causes of various types of abuse that afflict girls and women.
She-Hive programmes director Ellen Scout told the Lesotho Times recently that their focus on counselling seems not to end gender-based violence (GBV).
Ms Scout said to end GBV, there is a need to address the root causes of the abuses. She said after identifying the causes they also need to educate the perpetrators on the dangers of their actions.
She said a research they have conducted has proven that among others, unemployment, exposure to abuse in one’s upbringing and exposure to violence in initiation schools are some of the reasons for the rise of GBV.
She also cited lack of social skills among men especially herd boys as another reason for the increase of violence. Ms Scout said when the herd boys finally marry they struggle to communicate properly as they are used to a one-way communication process where they “give orders to their animals”.
“Herd boys spend most of their time around animals and some stay at cattle posts far away from the villages,” Ms Scot said.
“They spend most of their time swearing at animals all day without any response from the animals so they are used to that. It therefore, becomes a challenge when such a person gets married to a partner who communicates properly.
“Should they get upset, they will start insulting the next person and for sure the partner, is going to be offended and want to return the insult. That is often when he will start beating the partner up.”
Ms Scout said it was easy for such people to become rapists and molesters because of lack of information and education that can lead them to become protectors and respected men in society.
Ms scout said some men are easily angered and cannot handle pressure from the challenges they encounter. She said they have also discovered that unemployment plays a huge role in turning men into abusers.
“Some men are frustrated by unemployment. As they fail to achieve any of their goals and dreams, they become so bitter in their relationships and end up being abusive while some resort to substance abuse which is also a contributor to the violence,” Ms Scout said.
Ms Scout further said some families raise their children with the mentality that women are objects or material which one can own so they end up being too dominant.
She said they have also started a programme called Men-engage and have also embarked on initiatives to mobilise communities and advocate for provision of proper education to herd boys.
“A day does not pass without a report of a child being molested, rape of teenage girls and violence against women and children. These challenges need to be addressed.
“We have several programmes such as community mobilisation and we are also advocating for proper education, information and provision of life skills to herd boys. We all know that a small percentage of them attend evening classes of learn the basics of reading and writing but that is not enough for them.”
“We have also started a men’s programme called Men-engage where we meet to discuss issues that affect men and make them aware of the harmful actions perpetrated by other men which also eventually affect them negatively.”
Ms Scout further said the ministry of Gender must speed up the enactment of the Domestic Violence Bill so that perpetrators of gender-based violence get hefty penalties that will deter others from committing such crimes.
Lesotho is ranked second in the countries with the highest crimes against women after Sweden.
A Gender Links report published in 2014 said approximately 86 percent of women have experienced GBV in their lifetime with 62 percent being perpetrated by intimate partners.
The report also said at least 16 percent of women experience rape perpetrated by strangers.