Ongwediva urged to create SGBV relief centres

20 October 2020 | Crime

TUYEIMO HAIDULA

ONGWEDIVA



Demonstrators who participated in the #ShutItAllDown protest at Ongwediva on Friday have asked the town's municipality to create relief centres for sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) survivors.

One of the organisers, Alison Muhongo, read a petition to Ongwediva mayor Angelina Angula in which the municipality was urged to engage its stakeholders and apply pressure on schools, universities, youth centres and faith-based organisations to educate people on SGBV.

Muhongo called on the municipality to fund SGBV outreach programmes for those in nearby rural areas, as well as on “how to spot perpetrators and report them”.

She also demanded that the municipality creates a camp to teach women and men how to defend themselves.

Violent crime hub

Muhongo said she decided to organise the protest because northerners rarely participate in SGBV protests, despite most violent crimes being reported in the northern regions.

“I have a close friend who knew Shannon (Wasserfall). It broke me every day to see her in tears. I couldn't even imagine the pain her parents and close family members were going through. I was frustrated. All over the country, everyone is frustrated, and everybody is tired,” she said.

According to the police, at least 200 domestic violence cases are reported monthly, while more than 1 600 cases of rape were reported during the 18 months ending in June 2020.

“Translated, these statistics paint the horrifying image that for 540 days between January 2019 and June 2020, three rape cases were reported to the police every day. There is, therefore, no denying: Namibia faces an SGBV crisis,” the petition said.



'More men should

come onboard'

Angula assured protestors that her office would initiate platforms, as they share the “same sentiments and frustrations”.

While the protests have mostly been organised by women, Dean Shiningayamwe also joined in.

On the changes he'd like to see, he said: “More men should come onboard as the fight can only be won by collective efforts. I might not be alive to witness the victory, because it will not come tomorrow, but we have to start somewhere.”

He also urged men to confide in close relatives or approach a psychologist or social worker to offload. “The world commemorated Mental Health Day this month. Men should invest in good mental health and not bottle up their emotions,” he said.

The group also handed over a petition to police in the region.

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