GBV: Are we doing enough?

07 August 2015

Namibia seems to be losing the fight against gender based violence (GBV) after another life was cut short this past weekend.

Judging from the numerous media reports every week, one would be forgiven to think that gender based violence is a national pass time.

There seems to be no end in sight for the gender based violence scourge that has hit our country as many young lives, mostly women, die at the hands of their so-called loved ones.

Every year we observe the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, but that has not helped in eliminating the problem.  Perhaps such activism should not be limited to a particular month or days, but should be an on-going effort throughout the year.

Campaigns against gender based violence should be sustained throughout the year just like the TB or HIV campaigns.

Government’s response to the senseless killings has so far been disappointing. Granted, Namibia has on paper several laws to address the problem of GBV.

Laws such as the Combating of Domestic Violence Act No 4 of2003, the Combating of Rape Act No 8 of 2000, the Maintenance Act No 9 of 2003, the Married Persons Equality Act No 1 of 1996 and the Children Status Act No 6 of 2006, but why do we continue to experience high number of cases of gender based violence?

A lot has been said about the effectiveness of the National Day of Prayer against gender based violence. While prayer is good, we should at least try to understand what drives a seemingly normal person to carry out horrendous attacks on their loved ones.

What drives a normal human being to kill someone they claim to love? Is it alcohol, drugs or jealousy that is causing men to kill the women?
Someone pointed out recently on social media that maybe the ladies themselves are to blame for the violence perpetrated against them for a number of reasons.

While this post was criticised and condemned for being insensitive to the victims of gender based violence, the person might actually have a point but we will never know in the absence of a comprehensive study.

The Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare should be at the fore front of any such studies or discussions meant to find answers to this problem.

The never ending so-called passion killings deserve more action from Government, the private sector, the NGO community and everyone.

In the absence of a comprehensive study or national discussion, we will never know why Namibia is the capital of passion killings.

We believe that studies based on interviews with the perpetrators or victims of violence should be a good starting poin



The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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