From fighting to end slut-shaming to combating gender-based violence, young people are leading the way and working to drive real, lasting change in communities across the country.
Young people from across the country will come together to celebrate the 14th National Youth Week, which started last week in Windhoek.
The event, organised by the National Youth Council of Namibia (NYC), will be hosted under the theme “Youth Ignites Zero Tolerance Against GBV”.
Speaking at the launch, the chairperson of the National Youth Council (NYC) Sharonice Busch stressed that the reality of sexual and gender-based violence in Namibia is undeniable.
“The rates at which rape and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence occur in Namibia is extremely concerning, and concentrated and coordinated efforts are required to respond to, prevent and ultimately eliminate this form of violence that has become a serious blemish to our national conscience,” she stated.
The NYC’s general assembly, which was held last year, had as theme “Youth Voices Against Gender-Based Violence”.
Unfortunately, the theme was overshadowed by the politics that was at play during the assembly, and it was barely paid any attention to.
“The revolution for women in Namibia was championed by young people; brave young people who relentlessly took to the streets of the country to demand a much-needed change that would translate into a safer Namibia for women and children,” she said, adding that the youth have an extremely important role to play in combating sexual and gender-based violence.
Speaking to Youth Corner, youth leader and one of the organisers of the youth week, Bertha Tobias, said while a lot of progress has been made in the effort to combat gender-based violence, the rates have continued to be persistently high.
“We have seen young people being at the forefront of fighting gender-based violence. So, I think it is relevant for the NYC to use their capacity and resources to contribute to the national fight. Ideally, no country should have a GBV pandemic on their hands because that involves the loss of human life. However, there has been an injection of urgency into the fight against GBV, and I think efforts have been accelerated to fight it,” said Tobias.
Activities planned for the youth week include a march from the United Nations Plaza to the GBV Protection Unit at the Katutura State Hospital; a men’s conference; a brunch with youth leaders; a quiz night; and a slut’s night happening at the Brewers Market.
Although the weekly activities have triggered a flurry of mixed emotions among young people, especially on social media, Busch clarified to New Era that the slut discussion is that the words ‘wh*re’ b*tch and ‘sl*t are used to demean and humiliate women, based on their sexual activity -whether perceived or real.
“This form of humiliation is targeted at ensuring that women keep to their place in society, and that their existence as sexual objects is confined to the control of men,” she said.