For so many years many people have heard about a protection order that has been put in place to assist those people who want to escape their abusers. Many survivors do not understand how the process of applying for a protection order works. They move quickly to apply for a protection order only to withdraw it within a short period.
It has been more than five years since Matilda lost. Matilda grew up in Windhoek and got married in the same city she had grown up to be a young, beautiful, and intelligent lady. The years that came saw her being in a troubled relationship after getting married to her long-time fiancé.
They started a family and by then the abuse was escalating in their relationship. It was something they did not talk about, a taboo subject. Many women are not allowed to talk about their marriage problems and how they are being mistreated, whether it be physically, sexually, or financially. Nor are these women allowed to divorce and leave their partners. They were raised to stay in their marriages no matter how difficult the situation might be. As time went on, it emerged that Matilda was in a seriously abusive relationship. She started spending more time away from her matrimonial home and partner. After what can be deemed a toxic and dangerous relationship, things escalated even more, and she suffered from serious injuries to her body. She then went and reported the abuse to the police in order to apply for a protection order. For some reason, unknown to even herself, she withdrew the order after two days and eventually, the abuse continued.
“The system has failed me I can say, I thought I was doing the right thing, I guess. I applied for a protection order only to go back and cancel it after changing my mind. How I felt that time had contributed to the situation I am today. I was abused but later I felt it was not an abuse. I reported the case to the police, even though they allowed me to do that, I went back and cancelled the protection order.” narrated Matilda.
Withdrawal of protection orders has become a worrisome trend for law enforcement. A person who violated a protection order may be arrested. But, in most cases when the person who has reported the case chooses to get back in contact with the abuser, it is no longer regarded as a crime and the order no longer applies.
In most cases, the process does not change the behaviour of the abuser. Rather, the situation can become worse and that can lead to more abuse.
Domestic violence has become a major scourge in a nation since most survivors stay with their abusers. The fact that abuse in the relationship is regarded as a private matter makes it more difficult for the survivors to walk away from abuse to receive help. Though domestic violence has been considered a normal crime, it has left many families asking unanswered questions. The month of September has left the nation in a shock when it ended up with not just a few but many women being killed by their partners.
“I feel as if the protection order could allow many women to withdraw their cases and regret this decision later. Today I wish if I could have not withdrawn. I made the decision to change my situation but then doubted myself. I should have believed in what I thought rather than second-guessing myself.”
According to the Legal Assistance Centre, when you are applying for a protection order there are no legal fees and there is no lawyer needed to assist with the application. The procedure was done in a way to assist the general public who need the important service. A third party can also apply for a protection order with the consent of the person who needs protection.
Regain Trust empowers survivors of Gender-Based Violence through psychological therapy sessions, one on one and group sessions. The intervention process helps and empowers survivors to open up and speak out about their experiences. Awareness campaigns are done through public dialogues, media campaigns and training. The organization advocates for a holistic approach to address GBV.
Regain Trust and (FES) Friedrich Ebert Stiftung with co-funding from the European Union are implementing a project that will contribute towards National efforts to address Gender-based Violence and Learner Pregnancy in the Khomas, Erongo and Northern Regions. The project titled “Survivors Speak Up!” seeks to Increase and enhance the delivery of prevention, psychosocial, health, legal and protection services to reduce the prevalence of GBV & LP.
Look for the upcoming events on our website and Facebook page. If you need help reach out to REGAIN and call 0817033 203.