Men urged to cry more
He added that this does not mean they should not find solutions to their problems, but insisted that it is “normal to feel sad. It is okay to cry”.
He was speaking at the three-day national men’s conference which took place in Ongwediva. The event, aimed at ending gender-based violence (GBV), started on Tuesday and ended yesterday.
He thanked the organisers for the conference, saying its aim is to galvanise positive masculinity to end the scourge of violence in Namibia.
“Initiatives of this nature provide much-needed platforms where men can increase their understanding on causes, effects and consequences of violent acts towards women and girls,” he said, adding that “recently we have been witnessing an increase of incidents where men become violent towards other men and men committing suicide”.
In a presentation, Sakaria told the men in attendance that it’s okay not to be okay.
Toxic masculinity stems from the cultural indoctrination of the male role, a belief system which preaches that men should not to show emotion and that men don’t cry, he said.
You can cry
“It is okay to cry,” Sakaria said to thundering applause, adding that positive masculinity promotes equality, respect and dignity for all people, irrespective of their gender identities.
He also urged police officers to assist all complainants fairly and to avoid gender biases.
Often, police officers have been accused of making fun of men who lodge cases of violence against their girlfriends or wives.
This, Sakaria said, needs to stop, adding that men should feel safe when seeking assistance from the police.
“I hope that after this conference, all the participants - including law enforcement personnel - will exhibit positive masculinity through their work, when dealing with their families and in the communities we serve.”
He further urged men to seek counselling and to give themselves time to heal.
GBV in the NCS
While ordinary Namibians turn to them for help, Namibian Correctional Services (NCS) employees are also victims of GBV.
NCS deputy commissioner general Sam Shaalulange said he is worried that the majority of these employees do not report these cases.
He said current statistics indicate that a total of 20 correctional officers have either been subjected to or are victims of GBV.
Apart from abuse, correctional officers also face increased rates of suicide, divorce and post-traumatic stress disorder due to the nature of their work, he said.
Shaalulange added that the NCS, however, remains committed to providing a conducive working environment for employees.
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