Lesotho has some of the worst rape statistics in the world, second only to Botswana. There are 89.2 reported accounts of sexual assault per 100,000 people in Lesotho, and that does not take into account the thousands of incidents that go unreported each year. (Source)
Rape victims often get sold to their rapists
Because of the extreme poverty in Lesotho, many rapists go unpunished for their crimes. Instead, the victim’s family may ask the rapist to marry the victim as “compensation” for the attack. This is particularly common when the victim is a child. The rapist avoids prosecution, and the family gets a monetary settlement called a “lobola” in exchange for their child.
As extreme as this sounds, it highlights how desperate many families are in Lesotho. If they cannot afford to feed their family, this transaction reduces the number of mouths to feed – even if it’s at the expense of their child’s wellbeing.
Nteboheleng’s life as a child bride and rape victim
Both rape and child marriage are illegal in Lesotho, but these events still happen in secret. Such was the case for Nteboheleng. She was raped by her neighbor at the age of 15 and married off as a way to cover the assault.
Sexual assault is difficult to recover from no matter what, but it is much harder to get past when you have to see your rapist on a daily basis. Nteboheleng remained under her abuser’s control until she was finally able to contact Beautiful Dream Society for support.
Trauma recovery with Beautiful Dream Society
The specialists at Beautiful Dream Society were able to get Nteboheleng on the road to recovery. She will receive continual support for her emotional, physical, and psychological needs, but it will take quite a bit of time for her to heal.
BDS works diligently to raise awareness about sexual assault, human trafficking, and child predators in Lesotho. The more vocal we are, the more we can get local communities to fight violence and support survivors in their healing process.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Nteboheleng and all children who have experienced sexual assault. Our Children’s Homes provide an environment where they find the strength to push forward and receive the love they deserve.
Thank you for supporting Nteboheleng and other children like her!