Monday 19 April 2021
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Taking on GBV in Namibia

Monica Gender Violence Solutions (MGVS) which aims to provide legal advocacy among domestic violence and sexual assault victims in Namibia has called upon the community to report GBV cases to the appropriate authorities such as MGVS, the Namibian Police (NAMPOL) and the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare (MOGECW).

Gender-based violence (GBV) is still a growing issue in Namibia as cases reported from victims who are between the ages of zero to fifty years are rapidly increasing on a daily.
Prevalent crimes usually range from sexual violence, domestic violence, sexual harassment at work and physical violence are among some of the cases reported.
Based on a report published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) last year, WHO indicated that about 1 in 3 women worldwide have experienced either physical or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime and one out of five women are usually found in abusive relationships.

In an interview on Wednesday, MGVS Deputy Director, Agnes Iikuyu told The Patriot that GBV is an ongoing crime in the country that should be stopped especially for women who tend to stay with abusive partners.
“Most women who are victims believe that their husbands or boyfriends are the breadwinners, which forces them to stay in these abusive relationships because of benefits such as money and food. At times, low education, traditional beliefs, child exposure to violence in the family, attitudes accepting of violence, harmful use of alcohol and gender inequality are as well some of the root causes of GBV”.” she said.

She however highlighted that GBV is not only limited to females as men are victims to it as well, but choose not to report the crime because of fear of being mocked at and being seen as less of a men in society.
“Some men are afraid to report these crimes because of the fear of being called a coward, but this should not be the case if we aim to one day eliminate GBV” she said.
Iikuyu said the lack of GBV campaigns to raise awareness has also led to the increase of GBV in the country.

“There is a lack of social workers in the community that can advise people on family or relationship problems and when there is no peace at home, a lack of community organisations that victims can turn to and the lack of interest from Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to work together on projects has also contributed to the increase” said Iikuyu.

She further mentioned that GBV crimes also play a role in affecting the children of victims of GBV, as children usually learn and pick up traits from what they see and are exposed to in their environment, which then leads to them becoming abusers in the near future..
“Children who grow up in where GBV is practiced every day have a higher percentage to fall victim of GBV, unless if they receive counselling” she said.

Iikuyu encouraged women and men to think and communicate with one another rather than acting on their emotions as some crimes when committed cannot be reversed.
“It is very easy to be upset with your partner which normally leads to arguments and fights and not everyone can control their anger and at times this can also lead to what we call passion killing so those in relationships should think before they act and later regret their actions” she said.

Women, however, are not just victims. They have been working actively to gain better mechanisms to protect themselves. This has included successfully pushing for adoption of international treaties and instruments, such as the 1979 United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. That convention commits governments to change discriminatory practices and laws, including those that permit early marriage, bar women from inheriting property or relegate them to a secondary status.

The convention came into force in 1981, and as a result the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) was officially established. In 1992, the committee affirmed that violence against women was a “violation of their internationally recognized human rights” and “a form of discrimination” that “nullified their right to freedom, security and life.”

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