NAMIBIA: Violence Against Women Triggers Protest

Monday, May 14, 2012
Southern Africa
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence
Reconstruction and Peacebuilding

Windhoek — About 100 people, of whom 56 were men, held a peaceful march to protest violence perpetrated against women and children under the theme 'men for healthy relationships' on Saturday.

The march started at the UN Plaza in Katutura where men, women and children gathered to show they do not condone violence committed specifically against women and children.

They marched through Independence Avenue to the Independence Arena, where they offered prayers for forgiveness for the countless brutal acts committed against women and children.

Pastors asked for forgiveness on behalf of their male counterparts who perpetrate these crimes. The men pledged to defend, validate and appreciate human life.

They also pledged to value, validate and appreciate the women and children in their lives as the "precious Godly human beings they are and not treat them as objects".

They also undertook to refrain from using violence as an answer or solution to their problems, conflicts or challenges in their lives.

They pledged to seek ways to embrace communication, negotiation, compromise and consultation as alternative and healthier methods of conflict resolution in all their relationships.

They further pledged to treat others the way they want to be treated. Delivering a message on behalf of the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) former Member of Parliament, Elma Dienda, congratulated the men who took part in the march.

Preliminary findings from a soon to be released report by the LAC indicate that two of every 100 victims of domestic violence is a pregnant woman. This statistic is based on information from a large sample of people who applied for protection orders in Namibia.

Citing the report, Dienda said: "pregnant women were kicked or assaulted by the abuser. In another case where a woman had already given birth, the baby was thrown against a wall during the attack on her."

She went on to say: "gender-based violence is a problem in Namibia. However, details of the sad reality of such violence make the problem all the more real." New Era asked some of the men why they joined the march.

Julius Nghishoono said men commit most gender related crimes. "If all the men could have taken this seriously, Namibia would be free from criminals," said Nghishoono.

He added that most people commit horrendous criminal acts against their partners and children when they are under the influence of substances such as drugs and alcohol. "You find that people regret what they have done when they are sober," Nghishoono said.

Mathew Shikemeni of the Roman Catholic Men Association in Soweto noted that gender based violence was a sad reality in Namibia. "I decided to join those brothers and sisters who say no to violence," he said.

The aim of the event was to attract 1000 men to march in support of healthy relationships and against violence against women and children. One of the event organisers and gender activist, Ngamane Karuaihe-Upi expressed satisfaction with the turnout.

"We work with what we have. Hopefully, it's a ripple effect and that five years from now, it will be a full house."