Domestic Violence Tops Crimes against Women

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By Wezi Tjaronda WINDHOEK More than one-fifth of all violent crimes in Namibia occurs in the context of domestic relationships. Due to this finding, which forms part of the Legal Assistance Centre, research on the implementation of the Combating of Rape Act and the Combating of Domestic Violence Act that is still underway, the LAC feels that if domestic violence is eliminated from society, women will be significantly safer from this crime. Most of the domestic violence cases in the survey were perpetuated by boyfriends against their girlfriends, either during the course of their relationship or after it had come to an end. The next most prevalent category is that of violence committed by husbands against their wives, followed by violence committed by brothers against sisters. “In the majority of cases (more than 60 percent) the complainant and the accused were living in the same household at the time the violence occurred,” said the Legal Assistance Centre in a submission made to the Parliamentary standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security on the increase of criminal activities and violence. In the domestic violence cases reported to the police from 2003 to 2005, a total of 86 percent of the survivors were females compared to only 14 percent males. But in violent crimes other than domestic violence, about 60 percent of the complainants were male and about 40 percent female. The survey also noted that most domestic violence cases (93 percent) reported to the police are committed by men. “A similar pattern holds true for other violent crimes reported to the police, showing that men are responsible for most of the violent crimes in our society,” says the report. In the same submission, the research found that violence against women and children is one of the most serious forms of crime currently being committed in Namibia. Statistics of rape and attempted rape committed during the study period (2003 to 2005) total 3ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 452 combined. In April this year, a women’s organization, Women Solidarity, sounded the same warning that in the absence of support for women and limited skills among women’s lobby groups, there is a general feeling that violence was accelerating. A report, after conducting workshops, noted that negative attitudes by men towards their women folk and the HIV/AIDS pandemic were raising the burden of violence, which is not only claiming lives but has also left some women blind. The report said some women were murdered for minor things such as missed calls on their mobile phones, coming home late from church choirs and also for attending evening classes. The report noted furter that violence had extended to robbery and theft, judging by the number of women who have been killed over their pension money.