Lifeline/Childline Namibia received 8441 gender-based violence related calls between January and November this year, official statistics from the NGO has revealed.
Programme Manager for Counselling at LifeLine/ChildLine Namibia, Steven Harageib reiterated the importance of these 16 days of activism against gender based violence in advocating a united voice in forging sense of urgency by means of conversation on multiple levels.
In line with that LifeLine, has a toll free number (106) designated for people to report and get help in the form of counselling regarding any incident of gender based violence they are experiencing.
Statistics from LifeLine shows that, from the period 1 January 2017 up to 1 November 2017, 8441 calls have been received on the 106 gender based violence helpline, while 115 face to face conversations have been held.
Harageib said “it is possible to end gender based violence in Namibia when we deal with socio-economic empowerment issues as a starting point in campaigning process.”
He added: “Further, a multi-central approach in which the police, legal framework, churches and schools are involved is necessary whenever we are dealing with gender based violence related issues, in order to fully address the root cause, design solutions and map the way forward.”
However, Harageib cited the limitation of structural environment for survivors of gender based violence as a stumbling block to solutions of avoiding the reoccurrence of violent issues.
The statistics were released during the launch of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence campaign in a bid to help end violence against women as a clear signal of intent from government.
The campaign spans every year from 25 November up to 10 December. This year it is held under the theme “From peace in the home to peace in the world: make education safe for all”. It aims at challenging violence against vulnerable people like women and girls as a result of societal expectations, roles and unequal power that exist between males and females which could cause physical, sexual or emotional harm.
Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare Doreen Sioka and other social organisations gave their backing to the 16-day campaign.
Sioka narrated how gender based violence continues to cause much pain and anguish in many people’s lives.
“It pains to see women murdered and lying in pools of blood as if there is war in the country,” said an emotional Sioka.
In line with this year’s campaign, Sioka called upon all men and women, “ to speak out and not keep quiet thinking that it will stop. When somebody invades your personal space by beating or abusing you, they do not stop, someone has to stop them and that’s you, speak out”.
Speaking to The Patriot, in a telephone interview in light of the 16 days of activism against gender based violence campaign, Namibian Police’s Inspector General Sebastian Ndeitunga highlighted the seriousness of GBV and strict application of laws for offenders.
As cases of gender based violence continue to rise, the ratio of male perpetrators continues to be higher than that of females.
“Women experience brutality from their male partners and sometimes it leads to murder which affects families in general. He acknowledged that it is an issue of concern to NAMPOL since their primary role is to maintain law and order as well as protecting members of the public from crime,” said the police chief.
Gender based violence is a human right violation, a public health challenge and a barrier to civic, social, economic and political participation. United States Agency for International
To address gender based violence, the government of Namibia promulgated several laws such as The Rape Act (NO.8 of 2000), Domestic Violence Act (NO 4. Of 2003) and Child and Care Protection Act (NO3. Of 2015)
In addition, the government of Namibia has taken important steps in signing and ratifying international, regional and sub- regional conventions and protocols such as the United Nations Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.
United States Agency for International Development(USAID) estimates that, gender based violence cost more than 5% of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), thus having a greater aggregate economic impact than war.
According to USAID, more than 1 in 3 women experienced violence- that’s 700 million women or close to the total population of Sub- Saharan Africa, with the majority of this violence committed by their husbands or male partners. A number of factors that can increase the risks of violence against women and girls include- low levels of education, limited economic opportunities, substance abuse, attitude that tolerate violence and limited legislative frameworks for preventing and responding to violence.
Through humanitarian assistance like- confidential medical care, counselling, community based action and awareness programmes, United Nations supports interventions to combat gender based violence world-wide.