A nation eating its own children

03 October 2019 | Opinion

Child rape is increasing at an unprecedented rate in Namibia and there's nearly no sign of this ending anytime soon. In the last two weeks of September, 30 children were raped.

Among these was a 14-year-old girl impregnated by her own brother (aged 26). Another victim is a 15-year-old girl pregnant by her 61-year-old father. These are depressing acts of barbarism and immorality.

The girl child is on the edge. And it is society's older men that have pushed our girls to the periphery – with little protection from society itself.

Just a week ago, a Lutheran pastor was arrested for repeatedly raping a 16-year-old girl for eight months. He was sleeping with this girl without protection and bought morning-after pills for her after his devilish acts. Apart from being raped, the girl also risks contracting sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV and not being able to bear children in the future because of unregulated use of contraceptives.

When fathers, brothers and men of the cloth are on the prowl against defenceless girls in our communities, it means there is hardly anyone that the victims can turn to for protection.

Even police officers, as was the case with one of them who shot his ex-girlfriend recently at Walvis Bay, are hardly the first port of call under the circumstances.

The courts, to their credit, have removed several sex predators from society by sending them to jail. But in truth, they too must do better in terms of sending a stern warning to would-be offenders that they would be locked away for a really long time. There have been some baffling isolated court cases that did not send a good message on the seriousness of the courts to fight rape.

What is even scarier is that the reported cases of child rape are potentially just a tiny drop in a stormy ocean of relentless rape, as the majority of such cases go unreported. Startlingly, some of these cases are unreported because the victims are so young they can't even speak yet.