Kindly allow me the opportunity to air my view in your esteemed paper. What basically prompted me to raise these issues is the alarming increase of reported as well as unreported cases of abuse and violence against woman and children.
In spite of several efforts by relevant stakeholders to address this plight it seems as if passion killings, torture and brutality against the most vulnerable of our society remains the order of the day. There might be isolated incidents of violence and abuse against the male species, but this however still remains insignificant in number compared to the abuse and violence against woman and children, hence my emphasis on the most vulnerable and affected ones in our society.
Personal interview sessions with magistrates dealing with relevant cases reveal some shocking facts. Apparently most of the reported cases are piling up due to the fact that the victim withdraws an already reported case out of fear of retaliation. In most cases the victim doesn’t show up at all at the court proceedings as she fears that her breadwinner might go to jail and they subsequently “reconcile their indifferences,” but only to find out that the victim was killed the next week or month. Sometimes cases of such nature are smothered in the communities and never come to the fore as the identity of the perpetrator is protected, or the victim is compensated under the table.In this regard constitutional guarantees are seriously infringed and eventually such a situation tremendously hampers the work of social workers, as well as all other relevant stakeholders in the field to come up with a tangible and comprehensive data to reflect the true depth of the crisis.
A radio producer on our national broadcaster once mentioned on the air that it is the “duty of the Police to protect its citizens from such violence.” Equally true, as mandated per Act to protect all Namibian citizens, however I tend to agree to some extent, and at the same time also disagree with those sentiments as the Police only show up at domestic violence incidents when called to attend to imminent domestic violence in order to restore peace (provided that a vehicle is available), or to remove the deceased. In this regard I don’t think the Police have got sufficient manpower to take charge or to control what is taking place in the privacy of homes, as it is very unlikely for them to place a fixed officer at every house, neither to place a law enforcement officer at every corner or path where our school children are moving or playing.
In conclusion what I am trying to emphasise with these facts is that we as citizens should take ownership to ensure a safe environment where woman and children are safe from violence and abuse of any kind. As a point of departure how do we go about this? Let us start off with the church, as I believe based on its mandate it cannot remain a passive partner in this crisis, henceforth it should be seen to be re-assessing whether all these heinous crimes are being committed by the 90% Christians against fellow Christians or not.
Secondly, as a nation if we want our woman and children to live in safe environment where peace and tranquility flourish we should stop criticising without attempting to lift a finger and do our outmost best to support each other in all endeavours aiming for the good and benefit of the nation and to minimise those conditions, such as shebeens reported to be attributing factors. Last, but not least, as a nation we should move away from any form of complacency and start to look deeper into the root causes in order to address all these scenarios from a holistic point of view by diverting from ineffective, superficial and costly programmes that are not working and venture into solution-based programmes. As a matter of fact the entire process, from investigation, apprehension until sentencing as well as subsequent sustenance of the offender is a very costly process and therefore places a heavy burden on the tax-payer: believe it or not. We should start to calculate how much we spend on investigations and apprehensions, building of larger prisons, maintenance, logistics and the sustenance of prisoners etc.
I believe that WE CAN create an environment where those preying on the vulnerable in our society will feel unwelcome in our societies
Concerned citizen & community activist