Windhoek-First Lady Monica Geingos advises victims of gender-based violence (GBV) not to withdraw their cases if they are to stop their abuse at the hands of men. Geingos noted that a woman could be sent to jail for killing her partner, while she has silently endured beatings for 20 years, but never opened a case.
“One day the man comes home drunk and she knows she will be beaten and takes out a knife and stabs the man. Who do you think will go to jail for murder? It’s her. But where is the evidence that she used to be beaten, if she withdrew her case?”
She also advised men to open GBV cases against women who are violent, but noted that unfortunately when men go to the police to report incidents of violence against them perpetrated by women they are called “weak” for reporting their abusive partners.
“One day he will retaliate and all of us here will go demonstrate in front of the magistrate’s court, saying he should get a stiffer sentence. But we don’t know what he went through,” she stated.
Geingos further urged witnesses to give their statements to the police. She said she has noticed that witnesses are often not willing to put their names to official statements, as they do not want the inconvenience of going to court and enduring endless court postponements.
Geingos made the remarks at the University of Namibia (Unam) on Tuesday where the Namibian Women Lawyers Association, in collaboration with the Be Free Campaign of the Office of the First Lady, hosted a lunch talk on GBV awareness, following the recent killing of Unam student Shapuline Shaduka.
Shaduka, 20, a first-year education student was stabbed with a knife over a week ago after she refused to hand over her cap to her attacker, Frans Nangolo. She left behind a 14-month-old baby boy.
Geingos also advised students to refrain from allowing their partners to record videos or take photographs of them when they are in intimate situations.
“You will be having sex with someone you trust and they are taping. The day you leave them it’s on Facebook. Sometimes the person tells you they are recording it and you’re okay with it because you trust them, but when they’re cross with you they release it. Don’t allow people to take nude pictures of you.
“If you don’t want to listen to me, take nudes pictures and leave your face out. You can deny your boobs and other areas, but how do you deny it if your face is visible?” she asked.
Geingos also touched on the HIV epidemic, saying women between the ages of 16 and 24 were at higher risk of contracting HIV, compared to men their age.
“What is this telling us? HIV is coming back to girls between the ages of 16 and 24 and not boys that age. What this is telling us is that you (women) are getting it from older men.”
Geingos also told the assembled students to look out for red flags in their relationships. She said if their male partners have not spoken to them for three weeks, that is GBV. “Why must you be ignored? It’s painful,” said the First Lady while adding that GBV also includes psychological and financial abuse and not just physical violence and murder.
Furthermore, she said women also commit GBV by baby dumping. She said women who give birth and go and drop their children in the north with their elderly parents and yet do not send any support to maintain their children are committing GBV.
Elly Williams, the mother of late Shapuline Shaduka, said they were glad to be invited to the event. Her daughter, Shaduka, was laid to rest at Pionierspark Cemetery on Saturday following the senseless killing that cut short her life.