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WAR strives to empower women children

25 May 2023

Women Against Rape (WAR) has been hailed for playing a key role in reducing incidences and impact of violence against women and children in the North West District.

Founded in Maun 30 years ago, WAR primarily supports women and children who experience abuse of all forms. 

It has been instrumental in empowering women and children, providing support to survivors of gender-based violence (GBV), delivering public awareness and educational programmes and advocating for legal reforms.

The accolades were echoed by different speakers during one of WAR’s 30th anniversary celebration activities recently.

They said the organisation had laid a solid foundation in addressing issues of GBV as well as promoting gender equality, through advocacy and social mobilisation.

The well-wishers acknowledged that the journey was but smooth, citing that initially, members of the community lacked knowledge and understanding of the its  mandate. 

They, however, said currently, WAR was truly grounded in its position as the flagship movement on GBV issues.

One of the speakers, Prophet Thato Elias, who is the chairperson of Ministers Fraternal, said WAR had done a lot in advocacy and ensuring a nation that was free of violence against women and children.

 “ have been the voice of the voiceless as you stood to speak for the rights of those who could not defend themselves and you still continue to do so. You also played a part in ensuring justice prevailed and the perpetrators are taken to book. 

We really appreciate your efforts,” he added.

Former WAR board member, Ms Daisy Wright concurred that the organisation was indeed one of the strongest social change establishments, saying that over the years, its activities had succeeded in creating a significant impact in public awareness and in the way it addressed all forms of abuse.

She said when the organisation started in 1993, the majority of communities, including traditional leaders, were not supportive as they had a perception that it was destroying families, but acknowledged that later they saw the light and came on board.

“I am happy that we have managed to establish a place where survivors of any form of violence could receive quality counselling and advocacy they need at no cost, as well as to provide community education around GBV issues,” she added.

One of its founders, Ms Anne Sandenbergh explained that the organisation was established by four women who came together as a result of their concern after realising that there was lack of support as well as access to justice for rape victims.

She recalled that the organisation received assistance from its patron, Dr Unity Dow, who was also instrumental in its registration and visibility in 1995.

She appreciated that the organisation had since made a huge milestone, adding that, ‘we have campaigned for justice and protection of women and girls who have suffered sexual and domestic violence’.

Ms Sandenbergh noted that they had also broadened the community’s knowledge of the characteristics of sexual assault in order to minimise its occurrence.

WAR research officer, Ms Helen Apps shared that they had done some research projects on Sexual Reproductive Health Rights; Reflection of early and forced child marriages as well as Knowledge and Understanding of defilement as well as customary and common law, which assessed understanding of defilement in customary and common law practices. Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Esther Mmolai

Location : MAUN

Event : Workshop

Date : 25 May 2023