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    CHILDHOOD SEXUALABUSE: THE BOTSWANA PERSPECTIVES

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    The African Child, particularly the female child is in constant threat of sexual abuse for many reasons. Some of the reasons are neglect by parents, exploitation by older males, family poverty and a variety of situations which include crime rate, war or oppression. In some African countries, underage female children have been forced into marriage, resulting in physical and emotional damage, and sometimes res ul ting in HIY and other sexually transmitted diseases. Botswana, like any other African country has its own incidence of childhood sexual abuse, which has now become a global phenomenon. This paper explores the magnitude of childhood sexual abuse in Botswana through cases reported to the Botswana Police, and those handled by Resource Centres, namely Child line and the SOS Children Village. While it is true that it is sometimes difficult to determine the extent of childhood sexual abuse for a number of reasons, such as the consequences of blame, shame or guilt to mention a few, nevertheless, its monitoring in any community is helpful to ascertain its prevalence so that appropriate measures and interventions could be taken. The forms of childhood sexual abuse investigated in this paper were, incest, defilement and rape. It is observed that the incidence of sexual abuse were in this order: rape, followed by defilement and incest. More cases of defilement and incest were reported to Resource Centres compared to the Law of Enforcement Agency. The factors reported as being responsible for child sexual abuse in Botswana were socio-economic factors exposing the victims to abuse such as drinking depots in the villages where young girls easily fall victims
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