There used to be a time when Batswana women were scared to venture anywhere near the bus rank in minis, leggings or anything that might be deemed too skimpy by the self – appointed fashion police who operate out of there. Many of those women and girls who were regarded as being inappropriately dressed would be subjected to a serious dressing down and all manner of harassment by a mob of grown men and shamefully in some instances, even women. The huge throng of people would follow them through the bus rank, hurling all kinds of insults at them, stripping them naked, sometimes beating them up, basically putting them through hell on earth.
Fortunately, that soon came to an end with the government putting in place a law that makes such barbaric behaviour a criminal offence punishable by law. This week, however, saw this vile practice rear its ugly head once again when a young lady in a mini dress experienced it firsthand. In typical modern day fashion, as it all unfolded, people whipped out their phones to capture it all. Video clips of the whole ugly episode soon went viral, prompting reactions from multitudes of people up and down Botswana.
I thought it was heartwarming that people, men and women alike took to social media to condemn the incident and this habit that has no place in the 21st century. While there will always be pockets of defenders of such awful behaviour in the name of Setswana culture and what it dictates, it’s humbling to see that there are others who appreciate the value of the passage of time, the fact that we live in a free world and that there are better ways of communicating our discontent at different scenarios.
Some comments made on Facebook
Very disappointing that a young girl gets harassed like that in PUBLIC. I’m noticing a trend with all these male abusers. There are also some females condoning it, throwing insults at the girl. This is not to trash any particular gender but to show there are really some rotten apples amongst the human race. It has nothing to do with what gender you are. I’m disappointed in everyone who took part in harassing that young lady.
What happened in my country yesterday at the bus rank was too much. I saw the video and feel sorry for the young girl who was sexually harassed by those taxi rank men. I hope justice will be served.
In response to the public sexual and emotional harassment of the young lady at the bus rank, we as Kagisano would like to also stand against such acts. First, the public should be called to act on protecting the rights of women and young girls. Enough is enough.
Our CEO will officially provide her statement in response to the actions of violence. We rally behind all the support given to the young lady. What are your views on what happened and what do you recommend be done to avoid such Violence happening again?
Kagisano Society Women’s Shelter
“That negative energy that took over the bus rank the other day really hit hard, and as a woman, seeing such videos you are forced to remember your own encounters with such excuses for men because we have all come across this ill – treatment, the mofos are everywhere. We get harassed for how we dress, how we speak, what we eat, what we drink, who we see, hell I’ve even been harassed for how I walk. And the women who cheer on these sickening acts are cursing themselves and their whole bloodline. Let’s respect each other. If at all there is any way a woman should be or should behave, who would know better if not the woman? Love your women, protect your women and respect your women.”
“I just saw that video from the bus rank and I am livid. Whether or not there was something wrong with that skirt, it is not the men’s place to harass her. This is sexual harassment by a mob, with not one man or woman stepping up to protect her. It isn’t the first time we are seeing this at the Station. It is funny how you will see cops everywhere. Where were they? As has been suggested, we need to organise a march through the bus rank in our underwear. What trash!”
“I’m really saddened by this video that’s trending… brothers, fathers, uncles, even some women sexually harassing a young woman at the bus rank today. Just a few days ago there was anger in the way some women described men out there, #menaretrash, we had just commemorated ‘Women abuse day’ – Are you gonna let these hooligans tarnish you like that????”
“I kindly implore anyone who is someone; if you are reading this post right now, please take action!!!!!!!!!! Serious action must be taken against these guys. My media friends, (reporters, radio/TV personalities etc); talk about this, call someone; from the law or human rights to sensitise these guys on what they did… a human right was violated here. That young woman is traumatised right now. Your daughter, your niece, your wife, your cousin, your sister. Such things must not be allowed to happen in Botswana. Not here!!! We are not barbaric. We are a peace-loving nation.”
“This is so disturbing; the male child needs to be educated.”
Our brothers weren’t shy in coming forward either!
I can assure you those dirty bastards who shamelessly harassed a young woman at the bus rank for wearing a mini dress have small p***ses. Real men with real things let women be and don’t judge them by how they dress in 2017. I tell you had I been there, I’d be in hospital right now coz I wouldn’t have allowed it to happen without doing something about it. – Male public figure
“I fully agree with the minister. This is not a lawless country where we can all do what we like regardless of the repercussions. Men have this habit of taking a leak everywhere, whenever they get the urge. But I never hear of women attacking and stripping them naked because they are going to the toilet where they shouldn’t! This is silly!!!”
“This is beyond rough and ready behaviour. These men have to be severely punished. They do this to women as if they don’t have sisters. Some of us have female children. Minister, have these men taken for some serious thrashing at the Kgotla for this disgusting behaviour.”
“Relieve them of their permits and licenses that allow them to trade at the bus rank. Let them sit and rot at home PERIOD. Remove them from the bus rank.”
“Ill mannered, dumb, uncivilised, low life, dirty minded creatures!!!”
“This goes to show their lack of intelligence. We all need to stand up and find ways to do put this to a stop.”
The comments above show that people are now getting tired of the mob psychology that reigns supreme at Gaborone bus rank. I have to commend Minister Makgatho for taking the stand to condemn in no uncertain terms this barbaric behaviour. The police have since asked the young lady in question to come forward in order to identify the perpetrators. However, there is also video evidence they can refer to. Not only that, some of the attackers are well known to them.
I, therefore, hope that the law comes down very hard on them and nips this conduct in the bud because if they get away with it, it’ll set us a few decades back to when it was ok to do that. Without a deterrent, they will take it as license to continue taking the law into their hands to ‘punish’ those they deem guilty. We simply can’t allow that to happen. Botswana is governed by a set of laws that are designed to protect us all, let’s put them to use. Let’s unite to stamp out this horrible behaviour because tomorrow it could be you, your cousin, your sister, your wife, your aunt or your daughter.
Were you at the bus rank when this happened? Do you think the people who attacked the young lady were right to do so? What do you think ought to be done with people who conduct themselves in this fashion? Please share your views with YourBotswana.