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Opinion - Endless domestic violence!

2021-11-15  Staff Reporter

Opinion - Endless domestic violence!
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There doesn’t seem to be any end in sight for the horrific gender-based violence cases in our country. We wake up every morning to yet another hair-raising violent attack on vulnerable members of our society. 

When will this scourge end? In Walvisbay, a husband murdered his wife in execution style, shooting her point blank on the forehead and then shamelessly tried to claim she committed suicide. 

In Oshakati, another husband attempted to behead his wife, cutting her all over in the process, and then cowardly took his own life to escape the shame and punishment, which was to befall him. 

One wonders what has gone wrong with our men. Until when must our society continue to be subjected to such malicious and violent crimes? Someone must begin to take responsibility and stop this rot. What are our churches, which are mushrooming in every corner of our society, doing to change the mindsets of these sick men? Where are the government initiated programmes to educate men and redirect them – and to inculcate humane principles in them? Indeed, there is no excuse for any senseless murder committed against a defenceless woman. 

Whatever the case might be, whatever the wrong committed by a partner or spouse, it can never justify the senseless murder and violence reported last week in Walvis Bay and the North, respectively. 

Of grave concern; however, is the failure by government, churches and other civic organisations to initiate actions and programs that may nip gender-based violence in the bud. 

To begin with, the government has a huge responsibility to play. Responsible ministries such as gender, education, safety and security, and health should all put their heads together and initiate programs that provide education and training for men. It is always easy to bend a stick when it is not dry, but it is a tuff task, though not impossible, when it is dry. 

There is, therefore, an urgent need by our government through the relevant ministries to organise workshops for men where domestic violence can be discussed openly.

 Young men grow up with the mentality that it is okay to perpetrate violence against women.

 It is such mindsets that need to be uprooted in one’s formative years. At the moment, we are reactionary in nature, as we only spring to action when a horrific murer has been committed. 

There should be frequent workshops for men of all ages – and these should be followed up by concerted efforts to monitor and evaluate the behaviour of men in our society. It is, therefore, time for our government to take more responsibility and initiate programmes that could help change the violent mindset in some men in our society.

Government should also set up call centres in every town to enable people with emergency domestic violence cases to call in for help. These call centres should offer a 24hr service where people can be counselled telephonically or make appointments for face-to-face help. 

When I had covid, like so many people did, a State doctor used to call me every three days to check how I was copying. This was indeed a telling experience, and I feel it can be replicated at such call centres. It will be beneficial for professionals at these centres to monitor and follow up on all people who either visit or make calls as victims of domestic violence.

 Quite often than not, many victims of domestic violence do not know where to go or call for immediate help – and in some cases, they do not feel comfortable to go to police. Sometimes, victims of domestic violence only need counselling and psychological support – and police stations do not offer that.

In any problem, it is important to look at the root causes. The question is why is there no end to domestic violence? It is time we all do a self introspection. Men and women should consider what they do at home and in relationships to contribute to domestic violence. 

As I stated earlier, there can never be any excuse for unleashing the violence we have seen in our midst, but the way we behave and relate to each other can go a long way in curbing domestic violence. 

Believe me, there will always be peace and comfort when there is love at home. Couples must, therefore, learn to live in harmony with one another, perhaps only then can we hope to see the end to the shocking levels of violence that have become daily headlines in Namibia. 

Our behaviour, as adults, should shape the way our children behave and make them have respect for one another. 

In our homes, we should start conversations about gender roles early in our children’s lives, and challenge the traditional roles and characteristics assigned to men and women. 

In many instances, it is such traditional mindset that lead to domestic violence. It is important to point out the stereotypes children always come across – whether in schools or at home. Let us teach the next generation to shun any form of violence – and in that way, we may have a chance one day to live in a society free of domestic violence.

Our churches also have a big role to play in curbing domestic violence in our society. 

Churches should have outreach programs for men during which issues of domestic violence are discussed. Such programs should include all ages to instil the right attitudes and characteristics in men at a young age. Unfortunately, some of our churches have become business centres and money making schemes. Quite often, their true role, which is to teach, is neglected in favour of programs that enrich the church. 

A church should be a place of refuge where the lost find their way; where social delinquents are healed. Churches should have trained councillors who can work with people who need help psychologically and mentally. 

In that way, many people will get help before they resort to violence.

The fibre of our society is under attack. 

Innocent people are losing their lives in very cruel and shocking circumstances. 

Let us all stand together and put an end to these atrocities – whether it’s the government, churches, civic society or individuals, we all have a role to play in ending domestic violence in our nation. 

The time to act is now!


2021-11-15  Staff Reporter

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