28 November 2012

Namibia: Domestic Violence a National Scourge

Windhoek — A record number of 1145 cases of domestic violence were reported to the police from January to August this year.

Last year, 1 298 cases of domestic violence cases were reported countrywide, according to the police. From these cases, 84 were murder and attempted murder cases within domestic relationships.

In addition, 31 men who are alleged to have murdered 32 women were apprehended since January this year. These men have used weapons ranging from machetes and knives, to firearms and axes to carry out the murders. The perpetrators' ages range between 24 and 35.

Also, 13 men who attempted to kill 13 women in the past eleven months were also apprehended. The women were seriously injured although they survived the vicious attacks on them.

The Deputy Commissioner of the Namibian Police (Nampol), Lisias Shimutwikeni, revealed these startling gender-based violence statistics at the launch of the 'Sixteen Days Against Gender-based Violence' campaign in the capital last Friday.

This year's theme for the campaign is 'From peace in the home to peace in the world: let's unite to end violence against women and children in Namibia.'

The Sixteen Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence campaign is an international campaign aimed at raising awareness about gender-based violence as a human rights issue and sensitising men on gender-based violence, as well as women on baby dumping.

Shimutwikeni who made the remarks on behalf of the Nampol Inspector-General Sebastian Ndeitunga, expressed alarm over the escalation in the number of so-called 'passion killings' a term which refers to murder of loved ones in love relationships.

The Deputy Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare Angelika Muharukua officially launched the campaign last Friday. At the same occasion she also launched the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare's National Plan of Action on Gender-based Violence 2012-2016.

Muharukua spoke out strongly against the practice of baby dumping, explaining that in most cases mothers who dump their babies are never apprehended. "We know that we have lost our own babies dumped by their own mothers - some babies survived but their mothers were till now not found (apprehended)," said Muharukua. She also spoke out strongly against men and women who kill their partners.

"I thought we were going to launch this (campaign) to the public. This is serious," said Muharukua in disappointment over the fact that the campaign was launched in a boardroom of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare. The campaign started on Sunday, November 25 and ends on December 10.

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