GBV: The Growing Cancer in Nam

Windhoek – Namibia’s Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare Rosalia Nghidinwa is baffled by the rapid increase reports of gender-based violence (GBV) incidences in the country.
In most GBV reports, women are the victims. Some men are also at the receiving end, though it is believed that fewer of them make reports either to the police or other authorities.
GBV covers physical, sexual, economic and psychological abuse. Despite legal instruments aimed at promoting gender equality and protecting the vulnerable in society, GBV is still rife in Namibia.
The country Gender Minister cited pieces of legislation that had been passed into law over the years to stem the tide of such violence. These include the Married Persons Equality Act (1996), the Affirmative Action Act (1998), the Combating of Domestic Violence Act (2003), and the Combating of Rape Act (2000).
In addition to the domestic measures, Namibia is signatory to several international legal instruments such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, the Beijing Declaration Platform for Action, and the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.
These agreements seek to promote gender equality, and empowerment and protection of vulnerable demographic groups.
“Despite all these legal instruments, our women and girls are being raped and murdered on a daily basis,” Minister Nghidinwa said.
She blamed domestic violence on social issues like male dominance over women, alcohol and substance abuse, lack and limited parental guidance to ensure that children grow up with values of mutual respect and non-violence.
Addressing a group of women in Windhoek on International Women’s Day 2013, Minister Nghidinwa said Namibia valued gender equality and women’s empowerment as fundamental prerequisites for sustainable development.
International Women’s Day was observed this year on Friday March 8.
This year the International Women's Day theme was theme: “A Promise is a Promise: Time for Action to End Violence against Women”.
Namibia marked the day less than a week after the rape and murder of a high school girl in Windhoek.
Reports of domestic violence in Namibia have been on the rise in recent years.
According to the Legal Assistance Centre, a Windhoek-based human rights organisation, nearly one third of women in Namibia have experienced some form of physical, sexual, psychological or economic abuse at the hands of their intimate partners at least once in their lifetimes.
Every year, more than 1 100 cases of rape/attempted rape are reported to Namibian Police, with one third of these cases involving teenagers and minors.
Minister Nghidinwa urged the government and non-governmental organisations to effectively implement and support laws, policies and programmes aimed at combating GBV in Namibia.

March 2013
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