We Really Need to Talk

We have a serious crisis on our hands in Namibia, and the more I think about it, the more anxious I become.

Truthfully, I’m enraged because almost every day in the news we are bombarded with stories of children who have been raped, molested, abused, chained up, whipped or killed.

There is a dark cloud hanging over this nation right now, and with each day that passes, it gets more and more disturbing.

What makes matters worse is some of the idiotic comments I come across on social media on some of these issues.

Some of you, supposedly grown men and women, actually think these topics are funny or something to be joked about.

I’ve seen so many disturbing opinions in my many years on the internet. Some of the worst offenders operate within the comment section of any of the local newspapers that share their news online.

People are free to post what they want. I understand it comes with having freedom of speech.

But with the near anonymity afforded by having no profile picture – or using a nickname as your username or having a private account – their true colours come out all too often.

So many of us are far too desensitised to sexual abuse and childhood trauma, it’s actually quite scary.

So many average, ordinary-looking people actually have the gall to be crass and insensitive, to make jokes about sex with minors, or post memes about child sexual abuse.

I’ve noticed the percentage of Namibians who behave like normal people who do not find jokes about rape funny is embarrassingly low.

The vast majority respond positively to the kind of humour that shames people, blames victims and makes light of very serious topics.

Secondly, they genuinely just do not take these issues seriously at all.

It’s quite embarrassing, and dare I say primitive, that these people can’t see the connection between the scourge of sexual abuse and its normalisation online.

I’m starting to believe we are a sick nation, because many of us don’t seem to know right from wrong.

We spend so much time saying we are Christians, we are Africans, we have standards, cultures and traditions to uphold, yet we behave in the most foul and dehumanising ways.

If this is the culture you’re all holding on to, I say we should burn it down.

I’m ashamed, to say the least, because I honestly don’t know how we got here.

When did it become funny that we have an epidemic on our hands? Seriously, how can so many of you be so daft?

Our children are not safe at small towns, in the city, at the villages, in the remote parts of the country, in the hotels, in the church, in classrooms, or even in their homes.

So many of our adults themselves have been abused and violated in the past and present, that they’ve grown up thinking it’s normal or okay or necessary for children to suffer.

This is not right. Something major has to be done.

I am calling on everyone to come together and stamp out this disease that is taking hold of us.

We must shame those who act this way.

None of this is a laughing matter.

As the youngest and least independent group in society, it’s often easy for us to think they are our property.

But children belong to no one, not even their parents.

Our job as stewards is to teach, guide, nurture, feed and raise people who did not have a say in whether or not they wanted to be born.

I read somewhere once that there is not a single reason to have children that isn’t selfish. The more I think about it, the more I agree. It does not benefit children, in any way, to be born into this world of suffering.

Everyone has children for their own selfish reasons, and it leads us to think we are gods.

But we aren’t.

– Anne Hambuda is a writer, social commentator and poet. Follow her online or email her annehambuda@gmail.com for more.

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