Current Date: 2 Oct, 2023

Stop discussing rape in family meetings - Geingos.

Monica Geingos, Namibia's first lady, has criticized relatives of rape victims who choose to defend rape rather than report sexual assault to the police.

She addressed the South African president's summit on gender-based violence (GBV) and femicide last week in Midrand as the head of the Oaflad (Organization of African First Ladies for Development).

Stop discussing rape in family meetings - Geingos

“When these things occur, we must end them because frequently, we are aware that our loved ones must be held accountable. And we are the first to schedule family meetings when these circumstances arise in our homes.”

She claimed that failing to report sexual assault by employees or students is also wrong. "Schools that choose not to write do not want their reputations to be tarnished. Therefore, she said we must reduce some degree of hypocrisy to obtain accurate statistics.

Furthermore, communities, families, and multisectoral leaders who participate in initiate, and support behaviors, beliefs, and mindsets that support justifications for and absolve perpetrators of rape were criticized by Geingos.

We all oppose gender-based violence in theory, but we don't. Though it is intended to be the safest place, the home is the most challenging setting. We don't have secure workplaces, and our houses are not sure. Our schools don't feel confident. Churches are not safe, she declared.

In the first half of this year, 450 cases of rape were reported in Namibia. This year, at least 131 cases have been reported, with 120 cases reported in March, which is the second-highest number.

Police reported 95 rape cases in February and 104 in April. The Oshana and Omusati regions have experienced the most rape cases this year, according to the police.

There were 11 cases involving minors in the Omusati region, with the youngest survivor being four years old. According to former justice minister Yvonne Dausab, the decision to alter the Combating of Rape Act was motivated by increased rape cases across the country.

According to the minister, between January and August 2021, Namibia recorded nearly 700 rape cases "with a disproportionate impact on women and girls."

"Over the last year, the large number of rape cases across the country has sparked several protests in various towns," Dausab said.

The economical option

A human rights activist, Linda Baumann, claims that family meetings to resolve GBV incidents violate the country's legal framework and statutory provisions.

According to her, families are more receptive to this kind of meeting when there are financial benefits. "Marital status is crucial, though. 

Because of a twist in the cultural component that speaks to the question of lobola being paid or cattle being turned over, you'll ultimately have to work it out with your partner, she asserts. 

Even though neither partner wishes to report the case, this is to be expected. They eventually return to their families," Bauman says. She also brought to light the scarcity of safe spaces for GBV survivors.

She claims that there are no places in the nation where we could go and stay for a month while looking for alternatives. The coordinator of the Legal Assistance Centre's gender research and advocacy project, Dianne Hubbard, claims that the state is having difficulty handling these cases.

If there is sufficient evidence, "the state can still file charges," she asserts. A rape case can be challenging to prove with an uncooperative victim, especially if there isn't much other supporting evidence.

Hubbard claims that unofficial resolutions are frequently made. It's a problem because the author claims that a rapist who gets away with it could endanger other members of society and give the impression that rape isn't a serious crime.

Hubbard sympathizes with the survivors, saying it makes sense that they would want a quick and private resolution. 

The author claims that cases involving rape and other forms of sexual violence "might benefit from being expedited, and if there were more support services for rape victims to encourage them to pursue a criminal charge."

According to Hubbard, rape victims should also be aware that rape cases are heard in private and that there are survivor-friendly courts in several places that can lessen the trauma of the court experience.

Excellence Chukwuma Chukwunaedu

Excellence Chukwuma Chukwunaedu

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