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By: Pricilla Mukokobi

Police in the Zambezi region recorded 333 gender-based violence cases in 2021 compared to 238 in 2020.

The number recorded in 2021 is higher than the 249 registered in 2019.

Head of the gender-based violence protection sub-division in the region, Rahele Tawana, told The Villager that figures are rising in the region, and men no longer care about women’s lives.

She said GBV incidents affect everyone, and there is a desperate need to end this illness in the region.

“We are worried about our women and girl child in our region. We are fighting for our people as a force. It is very painful to see our girl child traumatised and depressed because of rape, assault, and so many cases,” she said.

Tawana further said most of the women in the region experience violence because of their gender and cannot defend themselves against the perpetrator.

She further said it is also a problem to fight because some choose to remain silent and suffer in silence, fighting their own battles.

“It is, however, challenging for the police to curb GBV if they choose to remain silent. Communities should support each other and look out for each other. The police cannot be everywhere; therefore, they should immediately report that to the police if communities see something of that nature.

“These cases are rising because of the influence of alcohol and drug abuse in the region and unhealthy relationships,” she said.

She further emphasised that they have conducted several regional campaigns as a force. Schools and communities are educated on how to stop GBV.

President Hage Geingob on Tuesday said he wanted a severe penalty for rapists. He promised to assist in combating, curbing and eliminating the incidences of rape to safeguard innocent women and children from this evil committed by criminally minded citizens.

“The incidences of rape must be severely reduced and eradicated from the Namibian society because this vile crime is a scourge that demeans and violates our people’s dignity,” said Geingob.

With the highest number of domestic violence recorded in the Zambezi over the last few years, Geingob said the combating of domestic violence amendment bill would stamp the highest number of cases of Gender-Based Violence, which Namibian society have been crying out against for over 30 years.

“Let us accept that times have changed and that men and women are now reviewed as equal partners. It is also sad that while men are drinking in bars, women are progressing socially, academically and economically,” he said.

Geingob further said when one attends graduation ceremonies, one sees more girls than boys.

Geingob appealed to the Namibian men to become exemplary husbands, fathers and protectors of their families as women and children a no longer safe in society.

According to the Gender rights activist Linda Baumann, gender-based violence is a problem in the country. 

Women are faced with the struggle of services, and resources allocation are stretched.

She said there’s a need to centralise the services of GBV and availability for communication.

Baumann added that more people have no access to services because the police station is a few kilometres away.

“Look at Zambezi region. How many safe houses are there? We cannot even access them, and people cannot access services immediately,” she said.

She added that people in rural areas have no access to services and information. Their only source of information is radio.  

“It is painful seeing perpetrators walking freely without being punished. Violence is mentally, emotionally, and economically depressing people die inside nowadays,” she said.

Baumann further said women are being killed because there able to pay bills, and partners feel uncomfortable.

She further said back in the days; multimedia campaigns were available that had to look at gender-based violence.

Multimedia campaigns brought together multi-centre parts to look at the national campaign that created visibility where women can access services. A small service was growing, but, she said, what we have in this country is the opposite.

“These days, we have more conversations than creating a greater multimedia campaigning that can strengthen visibility,” she said.

Baumann said nowadays, “you cannot even run to your friends’ house because your problem is your problem.”

Baumann says there are no billboards for GBV, but alcohol billboards are everywhere.

Home affairs’ minister Albert Kawana said one of last year’s parliamentary sessions was turned into a ‘Salute Boxing Academy’ that made some female MPs feel unsafe as some parliamentary men members conducted themselves aggressively.

Julia Heita

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