Peggie Ramaphane, Coordinator at WoMen Against Rape
“Human rights has been very close to my heart since childhood – I am the first girl in the middle of boys in my family, so I grew up testing their male dominance from the household level. At school I competed with boys and proved that I was as good at mathematics and science and excelled in these subjects. I ended up with a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Pathobiology and Chemistry. During my work life I have felt driven to protect and promote the dignity and rights of those who were marginalised in any way, be it intellectually, socially or otherwise. So when an opportunity came to join and serve at WAR it was a case of the hand fitting the glove – a perfect place for me to move my social justice values forward. WAR gave me an opportunity to add my voice to the many activists who are speaking out on behalf of women and children who live in abusive environments. It is very important for each person to be mindful of how they use any type of power they have when interacting with others; power should be used positively always to affirm and build others not to break and destroy, we all have a duty of care towards one another.
The challenges are those attributed to working with ‘a not so attractive’ agenda – gender based violence takes place in the home and in our daily interactions, so each one of us if affected in some way. Therefore we are bound to step on toes that will not like or appreciate our interventions. There is limited funding to support the strategies that we use for prevention and response to GBV such as public education, psycho social support and advocacy. The weak funding limits our coverage in terms of population reached and activities carried out. WAR services are needed throughout Botswana but we do not have resources to do this.
I am excited that a good number of Batswana will be able to interact and interrogate the notion of rights and question their personal position on the rights scales in relation to fellow citizens. I am looking forward to quality time of introspection on perception and biases as well as social norms that we have come to take for granted as acceptable and normal despite human rights violations that result from such. I appreciate and applaud NCONGO for this enlightened conference.”