Yet again a rape case has provoked nationwide outrage not seen since 2020 when #ShutItAllDown protesters staged marches across the country against femicide and gender-based violence. The anti-femicide protesters have been calling for a state of emergency to be declared across the country, among others.
This time around, the incident involves a male teacher, who has since resigned from his teaching post at a Windhoek school. The accused now faces two counts of rape following his appearance in court early this week.
Again, this week, students, women activists and political outfits took to the streets demanding justice for the rape victim, while a petition was submitted to the education ministry to suspend all teachers across the country accused of rape.
However, despite these protest marches and repeated calls to end the scourge, Namibian women and children, in particular, continue to be subjected to sexual violence on a massive scale.
The heart-rending testimony of a father of a young girl who was brutally mutilated and raped by an alleged serial rapist is a stark reminder that evil rapists are not only lurking in dark valleys, but in our streets and homes.
While some may come across as hooded knife-wielding psychopaths, the reality is that some of these terrifying sexual predators are known to their victims and are not necessarily strangers lurking in bushes and dark corners as many perceive.
As the saying goes, if a man has raped someone, he most likely did it before – and will do it again.
Therefore, we have a moral obligation as citizens to do more than just review sentencing laws of sex offenders and disallow the withdrawal of all cases lodged in respect of the Combating of Rape Act and Domestic Violence Act.
Ours is a call to strengthen this important battle and wage an all-out war by calling out the rapists in our homes and society. We have a moral duty to end the culture of sexual violence.
This rape culture affects all of us – children, women and men are all victims. Collectively, a combination of factors would be instrumental in tackling the rape culture in our society and deter would-be rapists.
We should simply not be a nation of bystanders who frequently look away rather than intervene and report rape suspects to the authorities. In fact, those who vilify rape victims’ supporters make themselves guilty of promoting the rape culture in our society.
Therefore, it is essential that as much as the authorities are under pressure to bring in tough laws and fast-track courts dealing with GBV cases, we ought to change the mindset and not allow the rape culture to thrive through female degradation, victim-blaming and hyper-masculinity in our communities.
Surely, we do not want to be known as a nation that bends over backwards to make excuses for male violence, including rape.