Friday 18 June 2021
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Tackling the root causes of violence in Namibia

Shock waves spread across town when the public learned of the tragic death of a young male from the Namibian University of Science and Technology (NUST), Naeman Ibe Amakali who lost his life due to a road rage shooting incident.
The death of Amakali left the community at a loss of words as they continue to wonder if the matter could have been avoided had the gunman, who is still at large, acted in a civilised manner.
According to statistics provided by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) in 2017, 200 010 civilians own guns in Namibia while there are only nine persons per 100 who own their guns legally.
IPPR Research Associate, Dietrich Remmert last year recommended to the Namibian police (Nampol) that a new law on arms control should be passed but must include mandatory checks such as history of mental illness, history of violence and any prior convictions of a civilian relating to drug and alcohol abuse to prevent any unnecessary harm towards another human being.
Namibia over the years has also experienced a rise in Gender Based Violence (GBV) acts. This has become such a serious concern because it serves as yet another reminder of how predominant rape, passion killing and other forms of violence have become in the country.
From 2012 to 2015 a total of 50 000 cases related to GBV were reported. During that three year period, about 20 cases of grievous bodily harm assaults occur daily totalling to 22 174 and 18 054 common assault cases were reported.
Other cases such as 2839 rapes, 1138 attempted murders and 734 murders were also committed during the same period. Sadly many other violent cases of different nature remain unreported.
Speaking to Psychological Counsellor, Cheryl-Ann Diergaardt earlier this week, she highlighted that there appears to be a variety of factors that determine people’s behavior which can be helpful to detect whether a person is at risk for developing violent tendencies.
Diergaardt explained that violence in general does not necessarily have one isolated root cause because it can be brought on or perpetuated by a number of factors such as learnt behaviour which is caused by continuous exposure to violence.
She stressed that violence can also be attributed to the pressures of modern-day living as well as the inability to deal with certain negative emotions.
This is so because human emotions have the ability to overpower rational and logical thinking.
“Alcohol and drugs can also fuel anger and brain research indicates that poor sleep can influence a person’s ability to control impulsive behavior which increases some people’s tendency towards violence” she remarked in conclusion.
She further suggested those who may experience these type of factors to refrain from venting anger in forms of yelling, insults or hurting someone as it does not yield desired results.
“It is imperative to allow the rush of adrenaline to subside before acting. If you are prone to violence, walk away from the provocation as soon as you feel the pressure building up” Diergaardt advices.
Diergaardt further urged people to make use of other methods to avoid provocation situations by taking time to understand their emotions before acting out on impulse.
“One should try changing their perspective by looking at the situation from a different angle instead of seeing the provocation as means to maliciously get in their way or harm them in any sense” she highlighted.
An important long-term solution, Diergaardt advice is for one to focus on healthy conflict resolutions, challenging and correcting self-defeating thoughts, exploring various coping mechanisms to better channel thoughts and feelings associated with violent behaviour.
Diergaardt stressed the importance of trying to change male gender expectations of toughness and violence in an attempt to reduce the increasing risk of gun violence.
In addition the BreakFree campaign which is an anti-violence initiative launched by the Office of the First Lady of Namibia shared its sentiments on how violence in Namibia and around the world is a human rights violation.
Noting from the BreakFree campaign twitter social media page “the truth is many Namibian civilians are guilty of aggressive behaviour be it by honking car horns towards any driver, changing lanes without signalling, swearing at other drivers because of slow driving or acting out due to substance abuse.”
BreakFree campaign further encouraged those who feel that they have too much to bear to seek professional help in order to manage their anger by developing coping strategies, effective communication skills and methods of taking responsibility for their actions.
There are places where one can seek professional help such as Let’s Talk Psychologists, Psychological Association of Namibia and anger management classes in order to minimise and bring to an end this worrisome situation of violence in the society.

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