Residents of the //Karas Region were nowhere to be seen during the launch of the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence (GBV) at Keetmanshoop on Friday.
Only a handful of residents turned up for the event with only a few men and women in uniform scattered around the J. Stephanus Stadium, leaving //Karas Governor Lucia Basson far from impressed by the pathetic attendance at the largely empty stadium.
Before making an official statement on behalf of Doreen Sioka, the Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Basson said it is unacceptable that people do not turn up for such important national events that highlight the seriousness of GBV across the country.
She said the event is aimed at raising awareness about GBV in the community and that its objectives will not achieved if the target group does not show up. “I’m disappointed with the attendance. Those people who are here are those people who already know this and who are helping us fight GBV, but those who are supposed to hear this are not here,” she said.
Basson said the event was supposed to have drawn many people, because it was a regional launch and for it to have attracted only a few residents is very disappointing. She was however quick not to point fingers at anyone, indicating that the communities’ failure to pitch for the event is equally her fault.
“I don’t blame the public. I blame myself and the leaders present here, because we were supposed to organise and get people from all constituencies to be part of this. Next time, let’s organise it better and on time,” she suggested.
She also called on organisers of such events to in future consult with regional leaders, so that they can assist where necessary to ensure the events are a success. Also speaking on the day was //Karas Nampol acting regional commander Deputy Commissioner Julia Sakuwa, who highlighted the state of GBV in the region.
Sakuwa said more than 50 percent of reported cases of GBV have been withdrawn this year, explaining that from January to October about 180 cases were reported, of which 75 were withdrawn by the complainants, with 23 of those withdrawn at court.
She further said only 20 people out of 180 cases reported were successfully convicted over the same period, with four cases unresolved, as the victims cannot be traced, while about 58 cases are still under investigation.
This year’s anti-GBV campaign was launched under the theme ‘From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Make Education Safe for All’.