‘We have turned a blind eye to gender-based violence’

FLASHBACK … In 2019, the late Helen Onesmus posted this view about the dangers of gender- based violence on social media, saying the killing of women by their partners should not be labelled as passion killing, as there is nothing passionate about it.

…woman allegedly killed by husband had strong opinions on GBV

The woman who was allegedly stabbed to death at Rocky Crest in Windhoek last week by her husband, had strong opinions about gender-based violence (GBV), and had said that men had normalised abusing women.

The family of Helen Onesmus (43), who has now become the latest victim of suspected GBV, shared a post from her social media page from 2019, in which she strongly expressed her thoughts about the crime.

“It has become a norm to some men, when the beatings stop, they [resort] to killing, mind you this should not be called passion killing cause there’s nothing passionate about it,” part of Onesmus’ post reads.

Police spokesperson chief inspector Elifas Kuwinga said Onesmus’ husband, who is believed to be in his late 40s, allegedly stabbed her multiple times with a pair of scissors, resulting in her death in their backyard flat.

The couple married in 2022.

Kuwinga said the couple, who were in the process of a divorce, were fighting in the flat when the suspect allegedly stabbed Onesmus, causing in her death.

Kuwinga said the suspect allegedly attempted to take his own life and is currently receiving treatment at Katutura Intermediate Hospital under police guard.

The police found a pair of scissors, two smartphones and three knives alongside blood stains at the scene.
The suspect’s condition is reported to be stable.

The Namibian cannot reveal the identity of the suspect as he is yet to appear before court.


A cousin of Onesmus, Shekupe Onesmus, told The Namibian yesterday that the deceased tried making appointments with those close to her saying they needed to meet up.

“In her last text, she said that we should go on a date,” Shekupe Onesmus said.

She believes her cousin’s last text to her was a cry for help.

“Her husband was never violent until that horrific day and we never thought that he would hurt her physically before,” she said.

According to Shekupe Onesmus, the two were very close and she had reached out to her as a sister going through a heartbreak. She described her as a woman of her word and one that stood by her decision to end things.

Shekupe Onesmus urged anyone going through a similar situation to speak up and let the story of her late cousin and best friend serve as a motivation for them to leave before things reach breaking point.

“With Helen it went from 0 to 100, with some it may have started already. Stand your ground and do not be afraid to speak out and seek solace with your family,” she added.

Onesmus was the youngest of seven siblings, and the mother of a 14-year-old boy who was sleeping when she was killed.

Namibian Police spokesperson deputy commissioner Kauna Shikwambi recently revealed in The Namibian that over 380 cases of GBV were reported in six regions over the festive season.

The regions are Zambezi, Oshikoto, Kavango, Otjozondjupa, Omusati and Kunene.

“Most of the GBV is happening at homes and most of the victims of these crimes are women and children, while most of the perpetrators are domestic workers and relatives staying in the same houses,” Shikwambi said.

On average, this reflects over 100 cases reported monthly.

Gender and child protection specialist Veronica Theron said a key factor to domestic violence in Namibia is the lack of operational shelters in the country.

The Namibian reported last year that none of the eight government-owned GBV shelters across the country are operational.

“Delayed response by first responders such as no transport to immediately attend to the cases is reported,” Theron added.

She also highlighted how the inaccessibility of frontline service providers after operating hours is a contributing factor, as most of the incidents happen after 17h00 or during weekends.

Theron encouraged those in need of such services to reach out to the GBV Protection Unit, police stations, hospitals, clinics, the #BeFree Care clinic, Childline/Lifeline, Regain Trust, private social workers, psychologists and others.

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