Police open case on behalf of rape victim
05 January 2021 | Crime
In an unusual turn of events, the Namibian police have opened a case on behalf of an 18-year-old woman who was allegedly raped by four suspects on New Year's Day at Damara Location, Oshivelo in the Oshikoto Region.
Namibian police spokesperson, Deputy Commissioner Kauna Shikwambi, confirmed the incident, which took place on Friday at around 01:00.
It is alleged that the victim, who was intoxicated, was on her way home alone when she met the four male suspects, who are all known to her. The four allegedly carried her to her nearby room and took turns raping her, Shikwambi said. The victim, who was taken to Tsumeb State Hospital for medical attention, refused to open a criminal case against the suspects, who are aged between 14 and 21. “After consultation with the deputy prosecutor general at Oshakati, a State case was registered. Suspects are known but not arrested pending further investigation,” Shikwambi said.
Namibian Sun understands that the suspects were taken in for questioning, but were later released with “serious warnings”.
As Namibia continues to battle the scourge of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), which birthed the #ShutItAllDown movement last year, Shikwambi said the police too are concerned.
“We all know how much of a concern SGBV cases are. This is a serious case in itself, considering that it's a gang rape. There's no way that law enforcers cannot take action,” she said.
According to Section 22(1) of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act, a charge may be laid by any person who has an interest in the well-being of the complainant, including but not limited to a family member, police officer, social worker, healthcare provider, teacher or employer.
The control public prosecutor at the Ondangwa Magistrate's Court, Martha Hasheela, said when a victim refuses to open a case, any of the mentioned individuals may do so. “Once such a case is opened against the alleged perpetrators, the police then have the duty to investigate and ensure that they call in the various stakeholders, such as social workers and healthcare workers, to provide professional input,” she said.
“Social workers assist with psychosocial support, while healthcare providers will conduct a medical examination on the victim. Once the police are satisfied that an offense was indeed committed, the alleged perpetrators will then be arrested,” Hasheela explained.