GBV victim camps at police station

• Swarts says she fears for her life

07 July 2020 | Police

ILENI NANDJATO

ONDANGWA

A gender-based violence (GBV) victim camped at the Ondangwa police station this past weekend after she was turned away on Friday and told to return yesterday.

Salina Swarts (41) decided to stay put at the police station with three of her children.

Swarts, who is two months pregnant, said the police told her on Friday they could only attend to her GBV complaint on Monday, and advised her to go home and return. She, however, refused.

She said she fears for her life. Swarts has been living with her boyfriend and his family at Efalalo village near Ondangwa since 2018.



Suffering in silence

Having suffered in silence for a long time, she said on Friday, she decided to break the chain of violence. However, her experience with the police has made her lose hope.

“For a very long time, I have been suffering in silence and have been blinded by love, but now I decided enough is enough and I want to move on with my life.”

Swarts told Namibian Sun when she met her boyfriend, she was employed by Kalkrand village council, however, she has since left her job and moved to the north, where she has faced financial, emotional and sexual abuse.

“When I met this guy, he was loving and caring. He is younger than me and was unemployed, but I could support him because I was working.

“In 2018, I decided to resign and move to the north with my boyfriend. I had to abandon my family, including my two older children. We moved there in June with my pension money,” she narrated. The couple have two more children together.

Swarts said she put her boyfriend in charge of the money, but he used it to buy expensive clothes.

When funds ran dry, the suffering began, she said.

Controlling behaviour

Swarts said her boyfriend started doing construction work, while she started doing domestic work.

Her boyfriend then started demanding that she give him all her money.

“I had to go through serious suffering. He made notes of all my underwear and every day he will note which one I am wearing,” she said.

Swarts added that he often accused her of sleeping around.

Meanwhile, his family allege that Swarts' children weren't fathered by her boyfriend.

“There was nobody I could talk to because I turned against my family,” she said.

With no money, Swarts decided to walk the 18 kilometres from Efalalo to Ondangwa with her children. On the way, her friend sent her money.

“I came to the police station at 12:00 and I was not assisted.

“The police told me to go back, but I said no. I told them I can stay until I get assisted.

“They offered to take me to Efalalo and get my basic necessities. Until now, I am staying at the police station with my children. What will my boyfriend and his family do to me knowing that I went to the police?” she asked.

When contacted for comment, Oshana police commander, commissioner Rauha Amwele, said she is not aware of the case, but added that police cannot refuse to assist a complainant.

“The police have to take a statement and investigators have to follow up later,” she said.