A shocking 2 151 cases of gender-based violence (GBV) were reported to the police from January last year to date, according to the latest statistics from the Namibian police.
Rape topped the list of GBV cases with 1 038 rape cases reported to Nampol during the period under review.
Further, 210 cases of attempted rape were reported, while there were 58 murder cases and 58 cases of attempted murder recorded.
Deputy Police Inspector General James Tjivikua said the statistics are only the tip of the iceberg, as not all cases of GBV are reported to the police. Some victims of such brutal acts maintain their silence, he said.
“These figures should be worrisome to everyone. The figures indicate that here in Namibia, gender-based violence has reached endemic proportions,” Tjivikua noted.
Making reference to the Namibian Constitution, Tjivikua said gender-based violence violates and impairs the enjoyment of fundamental human rights and freedoms.
“The perpetrators of gender-based violence have no regard for Article 8 (2) (b) of the Constitution, which affirms that no person shall be subjected to torture or cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment,” he added.
He further said victims of gender-based violence ought to be protected and to enjoy the provisions of Article 10 of the Constitution, which stipulates that all persons shall be equal before the law and that no person may be discriminated against on the grounds of sex, race, colour, ethnic origin and creed, social or economic status.
“Gender-based violence has left many families traumatised following the loss of loved ones. Gender-based violence is a countrywide phenomenon,” he said, adding that communities and victims of such violence have a part to play in reporting such incidents.
“There are laws in place to combat gender-based violence and no police station in this country should turn back persons who come to report gender-based violence without assisting them,” Tjivikua said.
He was speaking at the launch on Friday by the Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Doreen Sioka, of 16 days of activism against GBV.
Speaking at the same occasion First Lady Monica Geingos said violence should not be seen in isolation.
“Men are killing each other more than women,” remarked Geingos, who stressed that inasmuch as gender-based violence is a concern in Namibia, other forms of violence in the country are equally haunting and the picture is equally grim.
Part of the reason that gender-based violence is on the increase is that parents and society have failed their children, who in turn become violent people, Geingos explained.
People are a reflection of the society they live in, she added. “The parents we are, are the children we are raising,” she noted.
Minister Sioka in turn encouraged people who are being abused to seek assistance.
Curbing gender-based violence starts at home, because a peaceful home means people would not take out their frustrations outside the home environment, she said.
“Let’s stand against gender-based violence and report whatever we see.
“If you are being abused speak out… Speak out women. Don’t suffer in silence,” pleaded Sioka, who also urged men to speak out against all forms of violence perpetrated against them.
The executive director of the Women’s Action for Development (WAD), Salatiel Shinedima, said men are the missing link today in the fight against GBV.
“Men’s voices are very silent in the fight against gender-based violence,” he said.
The 16 days of activism against GBV is an annual international campaign that runs from November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to December 10, which is celebrated internationally as Human Rights Day.
The campaign is used as an organising strategy by individuals and organisations around the world to support the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.
The theme for this year’s campaign is ‘From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Make Education Safe for All’.