Half of rape victims are children
12 December 2019 | Crime
According to police statistics, 358 of the victims were adults - 345 women and 13 men – and 353 were minors.
Most of these cases were reported in the Khomas and Oshikoto regions (102 cases each), followed by Ohangwena (89), Omusati (63), Oshana and Otjozondjupa (62 cases each).
These figures were cited by the inspector-general of the Namibian police Sebastian Ndeitunga, who was speaking at the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of International Human Rights Day and Women's Day.
Ndeitunga said gender-based violence, mainly perpetrated against women and girls, is rife in Namibia.
“Such kind of violence constitutes a breach of fundamental human rights to life, liberty, security and dignity and it is leading to physical and mental degradation of the social fabric of the society,” he said.
Ndeitunga said gender-based violence has a high cost, not only to the individual who suffers physical and mental harm, but also a wider societal cost such as lower productivity, reduced economic output and heightened pressure on the social and economic development of the country.
“While sexual and gender-based violence in general are severe human rights violations, they remain widespread around the globe.”
According to Ndeitunga although men and boys experience gender-based violence too, women around the world are disproportionately affected by sexual violence.
Ndeitunga said some of the impacts gender-based violence (GBV) has on the survivor, society and the economy include injury, disability and even death of the victim, as some victims are also at risk of getting infected with sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/Aids.
He said preventing violence against women, sexual violence in particular, has become a critical task for all stakeholders in Namibia if the country wants to improve the lives of women and girls.
Ndeitunga further said that the specialised units within the police dealing with GBV cases would continue operating in close collaboration with other offices, ministries and agencies such as the gender equality ministry, health ministry, office of the prosecutor-general, other relevant stakeholders and development partners to ensure that women and children's rights are protected.
He said the police, as the first line of defence for the community regarding the protection of a full range of rights, would spare no efforts or resources in the effective enforcement of the country's laws.
“Therefore we have already embarked upon several efforts to remedy the deteriorating GBV situation in our country.”
According to him, this includes identifying best practices aimed at enhancing cooperation in the fight against GBV, strategising on how to effectively and efficiently investigate offences of GBV, fostering relationships and sharing experiences with key stakeholders in the administration of criminal justice.
It will also include conducting educational and awareness programmes aimed at the prevention of GBV and sensitising police officers on the handling of gender-based violence crimes and reports through the members of the GBV protection division and the gender and welfare directorate.
According to Ndeitunga, training manuals and pocket guides will be developed for police officers from entry level across the board and members from the GBV protection unit also participated in international training on GBV since 2014.
“Outreach and public awareness programmes for communities will be conducted to complement efforts in curbing violence and coordination with other stakeholders in terms of integrated service provision will be fostered,” Ndeitunga.
He added that the Liquor Act will be enforced to regulate the business hours of alcohol outlets and the fight against substance abuse will be strengthened as this also contributes significantly to gender-based violence.
“We are facing various challenges in our fight against gender-based violence, but we believe that all the human rights and freedoms of our people should be respected at all times.”