Arrest GBV victims who withdraw cases – Sioka

MINISTER of gender equality, poverty eradication and social welfare Doreen Sioka wants the Combating of Domestic violence act, which is currently being amended, to have a clause calling for the arrest of victims who withdraw cases.

Speaking at the launch of ’16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence’ yesterday, Sioka said it is a shame that victims of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) withdraw cases.

“We must make sure […] when we amend it, we set up a committee within a law which deals with the person withdrawing the case so that the person, who is a woman withdrawing, should be in on behalf of that man,” she said.

The minister said another option would be that both the victim and perpetrator are arrested if a case is withdrawn.

“Yes, she should be in or both of them should be in, because they are disappointing the government. They are disappointing the relatives of those people. It is a shame for a woman to withdraw,” Sioka said.

She urged men who are abused to report incidents, saying if women abuse them, they should speak up.

Sioka said GBV is not a government issue alone, but also the nation’s problem, calling for a joint solution.

She said Namibians should be each other’s keepers.

“Namibians, let us be keepers of our brothers and sisters, in our homes, in our communities and everywhere we are,” she said.

“Let us turn the coin on the other side and strive for peace,” she said.

Sioka called on Namibians to create GBV-watch movements in communities. She said Namibians cannot turn a blind eye to abuse. “We have to stand up for others; we can even go report on their behalf so that they are helped,” she said.

Speaking at the launch, minister of justice Yvonne Dausab gave an account of how her aunt was brutally killed by her jealous boyfriend in 1982.

She said the adults were drinking prior to the murder, during which her aunt was stabbed 17 times.

Dausab said she was only eight years old when she witnessed her aunt’s death.

“So standing up against GBV is both personal and public for me. We have prayed, we have passed laws and incarcerated those found guilty of murder, read with domestic violence legislation for long periods, despite the constitutional challenge that it could be viewed as cruel,” she said.

The minister said despite these laws, women continue to die at the hands of men.

Ndiilokelwa Nthengwe, who represented the ShutIt- AllDown movement, said the law does not prevent people from being held accountable. “The culture of gatekeeping; the culture of silence; all undermining and subverting the laws meant to combat this scourge in our communities,” she said.

The Namibian Police’s deputy inspector general for administration, Anna-Marie Nainda, said 2 818 rape cases were recorded in the country between January 2018 and September 2020.

Of these cases, 2 357 involved women and children as complainants.

Nainda said a total of 94 murder cases were recorded in the same period, and of that number, 54 involved women and children as victims.

“Of late, the country has recorded an increase in violent crimes, particularly sexual and gender-based violence, murder, armed robbery and assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm,” she said.

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