The Namibian (Windhoek)

16 November 2012

Namibia: Passion Killings Move Namibians

A MOVEMENT of young Namibians on Wednesday evening marched to the house of late Melanie Booysen (20), who died last weekend when her throat was cut with a broken glass – allegedly by her boyfriend.

The march was to convey sympathy to the family for their loss, and to show societal solidarity with what happened.

The movement, under the name #MoveNamibia, said it aims to take a real stand against passion killings by campaigning against and raising awareness on how the problem affects society and the country as a whole.

The movement said it envisions to address a large spectrum of society about the issue by addressing different levels of society, “especially as youth to take a stand against these heinous acts committed against our peers, by our peers”.

“We refuse to just sit back hearing these senseless killings, complain all day, quiet down after that and then start complaining again the next time another woman is killed,” said the movement.

The movement said it aims to sensitise men on domestic abuse by using platforms such as comedy, poetry, music and theatre, as well as social media to reach a wider audience. Community groups such as ‘Men Against Violence’ as well as churches will also serve as platforms.

Research indicates that 31% of Namibian women in urban areas report physical violence from a partner at some point in their lives.

Clinical psychologist Dr Shaun Whittaker said in the past that Namibia should face the sad reality that the country is known as having the highest level of income inequality in the world and that this undoubtedly must spill over into everyday relationships.

“As social inequality increases, so does competition for social status, so does relationship inequality and so can violent crimes. Homicides and assaults are very closely associated with income inequality. So social inequality is another crucial reality to consider in debating ‘passion’ killings,” he said.

Police in the Oshana Region have reported that seven women were murdered in that region between January and July as passion-related violence escalated.

A Canadian report into domestic violence in Namibia reports that between a third and half of all women had“experienced intimate partner violence”, further stating that in 2010, almost 12 000 cases of gender-based violence were reported to the police.

The #MoveNamibia movement said it aims to get everyone involved in the campaign, including getting viewpoints from community elders, addressing students and pupils about the problem, and hosting workshops with women survivors of domestic abuse as a form of a positive outreach to young women who might be in abusive relationships.

The movement said it will also “encourage government to act on its responsibility to address the economic frustrations and inequalities faced by society as a matter of urgency”.

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