Women still live in fear

08 March 2021 | Opinion

Namibians can be proud of the progressive legal frameworks that are in place to protect women from violence and discrimination.

Legally, women are ensured of the protection of the police, the justice system and social workers when they are in danger.

Legally, they can choose whom to marry (as long as it is a man) and, if they are so inclined, divorce.

Legally, they can choose whether they want to wash the dishes or have babies, and they can say no to sex.

And yet, despite these laws, rape, and violence at the hands of men remain rife and the numbers are disturbing.

We know that in some pockets of the country, girls are still forced to undergo brutal initiations and are subjected to traditions that undermine their ability to determine their own fate.

We know that in many households, whether in wealthy suburbs or rural homes, women are abused and have little say in what they do. Many are too afraid to get help. Instead, they hide their realities.

As demonstrated by the #Shutitdown protests last year, our girls and women still live in constant fear.

One of the most memorable placards that day – ‘Namibia – land of the rapists’ - highlighted that every women and girl is afraid.

No matter their income demographic, privileged upbringing and life. They are all afraid. Every. Single. Day.

It’s a sobering thought, considering we live in the third decade of the 21st Century – our sights set on inhabiting Mars, artificial intelligence reaching new and exciting heights each day, and the word gender equality firmly settled in our everyday vocabulary.

Today is International Women’s Day. To those questioning the need for such a day, the above and the global statistics on the experience of women should clear up the confusion.

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