Is it just me or have the cries and fights to stop rape in our country fallen on deaf ears? I think more needs to be done to fight this serious and evil crime.
Almost every day there is a story about someone who would have been raped or sexually molested in some way. Where is the universal condemnation of this? Why have we not doubled police efforts to curb this scourge, investigate cases and bring offenders to book?
This judicial and societal downplay of rape as a crime against humanity and a crime of violence and domination has continued within our nation, and this is not good.
In August, the Namibian nation was left traumatized by the lifeless body of nine-year- old Avihe Cheryl Ujah that was found dumped in the bushes near Khomasdal and just last week, an eight-year-old girl was raped in Windhoek.
These are the cases that reach the media or are reported to the police. How many other women have been raped, but do NOT report to the police due to fear, humiliation, continuing threats from their rapists and even pressure from their own families who wish things to be ‘hushed up.’
I admit this is a hot button issue for me. I have read and heard a million stories about sexual assault, but the question is, what do we do about it?
More needs to be done to stop rape from happening. I am referring to help from our government, parents, relatives, and members of the society. Ideology, mindsets and cultural beliefs have led to many wrongs being ignored. Rape falls into this category many times.
One way to battle the pervasiveness of rape and the silent acceptance of it in our society is to get it out in the open. Victims must talk, families of victims must talk, concerned citizens must talk, church leaders must talk, and schools must talk - anyone who respects a woman must talk.
Let’s talk, talk, talk and talk. People need to know that rape is wrong. Victims must be supported and given the tools to survive and those operating the court system must be trained to be more sensitive to rape victims who testify or give evidence.
Even the media must be trained about how to write about rape without characterising it as a passion, jealousy-driven sex act when it is a crime of the deepest violence and violation.
A baby-girl being raped by her own father has no ability to help herself during the incident. An older woman abused by drugged-up men is horrific and we must see it, write about it and believe it to be the nightmare that it is.
I believe that educating women about the dangers of walking alone in secluded places or open fields or under bridges can help potential victims to be more aware. Even taking a taxi alone and unarmed at night is a threat and women must avoid all such threats.
I think young men should be trained as early as junior secondary school to know that rape is a crime of the highest order. No one has the right to violate someone else’s body.
I have had this discussion with a few friends; some were of the belief that many might commit this wicked crime because of frustrations with their own failings in life. But, this is no excuse for destroying another human being.
Still, I think the accused or convicted rapist needs psychological counselling as well as a jail term. Maybe he was overwhelmed by the moment, maybe he lost control, and just maybe the rapist might suffer from some sort of mental disorder.
Men who rape are often repeat offenders coming out of jail at the end of their sentence or who would have been acquitted for whatever reason.
Let us try to talk about rape and teach our young ones about its horrors. We must stop saying, “It’s not my business” and start saying, “there, but for the Grace of God, go I.”
Anyone can help prevent sexual violence if they care to get involved and help others. Namibia, wake-up - rape is a crime and we must do all that we can to stop it.