MASERU, 31 October 2020 – Approximately one in three women in the Kingdom of Lesotho has suffered physical or sexual violence, often by a partner, according to a study by the Commonwealth of Nations.

The cost of domestic violence, including notably sexual violence, in Lesotho is estimated at 5.5 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP), amounting to billions of dollars.

According to the study, the cost to Lesotho is 1.9 billion Lesotho loti ($113m) a year or rougly $50 per citizen.

The study found that income lost per year on account of the pandemic in Lesotho exceeds $20 million.

Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland calls it a “disgusting pandemic”.

The study finds that this pandemic takes a heavy toll on the health of victims, notably girls, women and children, more generally.

It leads to high levels of absenteeism at work and school and addressing it burdens household budgets, burns scarce resources made available to the police and security forces, and jams the judicial systems.

In addition, this violence gravely impacts children who witness it.

Scotland has said she’s made tackling domestic violence a key part of her work at the helm of the Commonwealth.

The London-based grouping of 54 nations whose population of women and girls stands at over one billion.

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