The festive season is here and to most that naturally means holiday time. Out with the conventional way of doing things, and in with a more spontaneous and a bit carefree lifestyle; ‘live a little some will say’. While this to some means taking in more calories than they would normally do (including more bottles of the holy water), visiting places they have never been before and dressing a bit jazzy to reflect the festive mood.
All this may be well and seem befitting the time, but a gender activist at a Maun-based organisation – Women against Rape (WAR) – Peggy Ramaphane warns that despite its perks, it is during the festive season that women should be risk analysing their situations more. As a marginalised group, which is prone to victimisation, women should be more cautious with what they do, who they associate with and try to put up preventative measures as possible. “Women should not just think that an unknown man buying them a drink randomly is doing it innocently or that because they normally wear short dresses and are entitled to, they can just do so anywhere, anytime,” Ramaphane warned.
The WAR coordinator stated that it was not coincidental that her organisation records a rise in the number of women who are victimised by men, either their partners or strangers, during festive season. This, she says, is because it is during the festive that women frequent entertainment areas, most of the times with little or no security and sometimes with no money to buy drinks or to get back home.
Ramaphane cautioned that women should not get carried away by entertainment and having a nice time as these are but minor things compared to their safety. The Botswana Police Service spokesperson Christopher Mbulawa has also shared Ramaphane ‘sentiments’. He warned that people should be vigilant at all times and should not be tempted easily. The smartest thing anyone could do to keep safe according to the police spokesperson is never to take their safety for granted. “They should not be too trusty,” said Mbulawa.
According to Mbulawa, the police also record an increase in rape and assault cases during festive season and would like to warn women to be cautious more. “Women should prioritise their safety, I also urge those who takes alcoholic beverages, to drink responsibly,” said Mbulawa.