International Law Enforcement Academy Director James Smith says the effects of gender based violence are affecting communities around the world. Smith said this last Friday at the ILEA premises in Otse when addressing 26 police officers from eight African countries who had just completed a 5 day Policing and Gender Based Violence training programme in which they learnt new skills on how to prevent, combat and investigate gender based violence.
ILEA Gaborone which offers training for middle management cops from Sub-Saharan Africa in investigating different crimes is a result of an agreement signed by the United States of America and Botswana government in July 2000. Completed late 2002 and officially opened by the then President of Botswana Festus Mogae in March 2003, ILEA Gaborone has since then trained close to 4000 police officers from different Sub Saharan countries.
“Gender based violence is endemic in communities around the world, especially here in Africa. It cuts across class, race, age religion and national boundaries. Its impact is resonates in all areas of health and social programming,” Smith said.
He went on to say even though gender based violence and unwanted sexual experiences affect mostly girls and women some vunerable males are also at risk.
“While women are the most visible, they are far from being the only ones who suffer the consequences: children of both sexes constitute the majority of abuse survivors. Adult men and the handicapped are groups who are often neglected in research and intervention. It is also important to recognize that although male against female violence is more common a significant proportion of males, especially boys suffer all types of violence” Smith told his audience.
He went on to say besides exacerbating the prevalence of HIV/AIDS as it often involves unwanted sex, gender based violence has also been shown to increase morbidity and mortality rates.
Meanwhile officers interviewed by The Voice also concurred that gender based violence especially against women was prevalent in their societies.
Ernest Mugema, a Chief Inspector of the Rwanda Police said they will start dealing with gender based violence more effectively in their country as they have been taught how best to handle the cases.
“It’s difficult to handle such cases especially in our male dominated society where people see it as unacceptable thing to report crime when sex is involved. Women and children suffer most but I trust the knowledge we have gained here will help us better their situation”.
Calling on his colleagues to go to their workstations and share what they had learnt with colleagues and put their newly acquired knowledge to curb gender based violence, Detective Sergeant Thomas Rogers of Sierra Leone said:“Now it’s time to translated our concerns into actions