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Editorial - Namibian men should do better

2022-11-25  Staff Reporter

Editorial - Namibian men should do better

The concept of a men’s conference started as a joke and well-recycled memes on social media but this week Namibia created a great platform for men of different ages and backgrounds to discuss one of the topical issues of our time.

The three-day conference that ended yesterday was held under the theme ‘Galvanising Positive Masculinity to End Scourge Violence in Namibia’. 

The conference was held to end the scourge of gender-based violence (GBV) under the auspices of the Ministry of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, in collaboration with the Nationhood and National Pride programme and other partners. The purpose of the conference was to encourage men to take a stand against GBV and promote gender equality, among other things. 

While the country has made great strides in a variety of socioeconomic areas and uplifted many, Namibian is not a particularly happy place for most women.  It is generally believed one in every three women will be subjected to sexual or physical violence during their lifetime.

Namibian men have not covered themselves in glory.  Namibian Police last year recorded 5 320 cases of GBV perpetrated against women, men and children. According to police statistics, 447 women, 41 men and 577 children were raped last year, while 31 women, 20 men and eight children were murdered that year.  These violent criminals are filling jails. The overwhelming majority are men. 

Correctional facilities across the country house 4 200 inmates and 890 of those are incarcerated for murder while 797 are incarcerated for rape. Five hundred and twenty-two of the inmates are perpetrators of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm while 22 are serving sentences of sexual offences involving minor children.

Men’s role in contemporary society has been debated and regardless of where you stand on traditional gender roles, men stand firmly in the dock when it comes to the abuse of women and children.

Given the number of GBV cases perpetrated mostly by men, they should be encouraged to seek help, deal better with adversity and rejection and allow themselves to heal when faced with challenges in their lives. Platforms such as these provide opportunities for men to gain an understanding of the causes, effects and consequences of GBV and become better members of their communities.

There is too often a tendency to resort to whataboutism. Instead of making an effort to do better many point fingers and ask “what about women who also” do this, that or the other or blame their bad experiences with individuals on all womankind. 

Worse, there is an increasingly disturbing tendency to name-call, objectify and try to diminish women who do well for themselves and don’t rely on men for anything. 

Activists often say to address the GBV scourge men, should first be taught to see women as people, equals rather than property or objects.

But some of the men did not get the programme. 

Issues dominating the conference are complaints of men being denied conjugal rights and having to pay for sex in relationships. 

For these conferences to have any meaningful impact, those most impacted by this violence and those who have extensively studied and worked in this field should lead the interventions. 

Namibian men should do better.  


2022-11-25  Staff Reporter

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