Family wants ‘rape bed’ destroyed

02 October 2020 | Crime

OGONE TLHAGE

WINDHOEK

The family of the 12-year-old girl who was gang-raped in the presence of her mother and younger sister recently want the bed on which the attack was committed destroyed.

This emerged during a visit to the family by First Lady Monica Geingos yesterday.

Geingos was also informed by her technical assistant, Veronica Theron, that the family don’t want to move back to the shack, fearing they will be attacked again.

The girl and her family have found temporary shelter in an undisclosed location.

They will be moved to a secure shelter until a permanent solution is found.

Epidemic

Geingos said during the visit that Namibia is in the midst of rape epidemic.

“People are saying … when is it going to stop, if you follow the research … three years ago, we already said at a public platform Namibia is in a rape epidemic. We said it would get worse before it gets better. We are still of that view,” said Geingos.

Research done by her office indicates that many rapists were themselves abused as children.

“We can tell people to stop raping but they are not going to stop because the building blocks that have caused them to have such problematic mindsets haven’t been removed,” the First Lady said.

Tougher sentences not a deterrent

To cope with the ever-increasing incidence of rape, Geingos said it was vital to ensure that rapists would be held accountable for their actions. According to her, not much dialogue is being held with rapists to make them understand the consequences of their actions.

“We don’t talk to rapists enough. I wish rapists could see the damage they cause. It’s painful, it’s long term,” she said.

“I see lots of talk about policing and harsher sentences. Holding perpetrators accountable is very important. The lack of accountability is part of the problem, but even if we had the best police, if we had tougher sentences, the problematic mindset that causes this is still not resolved,” she added.

According to Geingos, the criminal justice system and law enforcement are a response to sexual violence. Getting to the root cause of sexual violence would help stop rape from happening in the first place, she said.

“For me, it’s about root causes, it’s about prevention, and that prevention has got a lot to do with our psycho-social condition as a nation,” she said.

“It’s the children paying the price of broken men. It’s easier to fix a broken child than it is to fix a broken adult … and lots of these have become broken children who have become broken adults … and to fix them is very difficult,” she said.

Rape stigmatisation

Geingos said society must stop seeing rapists as monsters, as any man is capable of rape.

“The problem with calling rapists monsters, firstly it dehumanises them, they are not monsters,” she said.

“These are men, we must not dehumanise any person in the language that we speak. When you dehumanise, you remove the agency of that person so another man does not identify with that incident because that was obviously a monster.”

Families too have a role in preventing rape, she said.

“The second problem is we have enough incidents of fathers raping their daughters, uncles, brothers, cousins, pastors. The challenge is that when we convince the public that only monsters do this … when I speak to my daughter, I can’t tell her be careful of these monsters who do this to kids,” she said.

Geingos added that it was crucial for parents to teach their children to report inappropriate behaviour by adults.

“I have to tell her, be careful of any adult who touches you inappropriately no matter who they are. The minute I even tell my child these are monsters, when somebody she is familiar with and whom she loves, approaches her in an inappropriate way, she does not recognise that because she thinks this is only a monster. I am still trying to find ‘Oupa Gollie’,” she said.

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