Editorial: After-care services for rape victims needed

24 September 2021 | Opinion

There is an urgent need to bolster professional response and after-care services for victims of rape in Namibia, especially children.

The country’s child rape scourge has been widely documented, and yet the year-on-year reports remain worryingly high and deeply concerning.



Experts have pointed out a lack of safe havens and shelters that can offer comprehensive psychosocial support, protection from alleged perpetrators and economic initiatives to help survivors.

Meanwhile, reports on the significant hurdles victims face when reporting cases are enough to cause sleepless nights, with Namibia already battling with high numbers of unreported cases and withdrawals.

That reported rape cases are not taken seriously, and that alleged victims, especially young children and teenagers, are placed back with their alleged violators, does not bode well for addressing the widespread violence against children.

Taking the first step is always the hardest. Especially when the perpetrators are close family or community members, who often wield the financial power on which their victims depend – homes, school fees, clothing, food.

If the first step is riddled with problems, especially regarding officials who don’t act fast and efficiently to ensure the protection of the accusers, fewer people will trust the system to protect them from the aftermath of reporting their abusers.

And, with nowhere to go, and no services catering to the emotional harm they have endured, victims will continue to live, and learn, alongside their abusers.

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