Governor asks for unity against GBV

The Erongo governor has challenged residents of the region to stand up against GBV.

13 October 2020 | Local News

Neville Andre; Erongo governor; “We cannot afford to look the other way when we see children and women being abused…”

Swakopmund • [email protected]

The country has experienced an increase in rape and gender-based violence (GBV) cases since the State of Emergency has been lifted.

“The Namibian police in the Erongo region recorded 24 rape cases and 176 domestic violence and other GBV-related offences from March 2020 to September 2020,” said Erongo governor, Neville Andre.

Following the gruesome discovery of human remains near Narraville last week, Andre said that in April only one rape case was reported along with 11 domestic violence and other gender-based offences.

“This is opposed to five rape cases and 23 GBV offences reported in September 2020. This stark increase in rape and GBV offences in September, which is after the state of emergency was lifted, cannot be ignored,” the governor said.

Cases reported included that of two babies being dumped within the space of a week, a 22-year-old mother allegedly strangling her baby to death, the gang rape of a woman on her way home, and the rape of a young woman at an isolation facility.

The most recent case involves the discovery of human remains suspected to be that of Shannon Wasserfall (22) who went missing on 10 April 2020 from Kuisebmond. In the meantime, the police have confirmed that a female from Walvis Bay has been arrested in relation to this case. An SMS from an anonymous source tipped off the police about where the remains could be found.

The governor said that although GBV cuts across all genders, violence against women and children cannot be ignored.

“We cannot afford to look the other way when we see children and women being abused, simply because we don’t want to get involved. Keeping silent while witnessing abuse makes us complicit in the broken and stolen lives of our women and children. We cannot ignore the glaring statistics that show that women and children are the most affected by this scourge that is stealing the innocence of our children, killing our women and leaving families in tatters.”

According to Andre, investigations confirmed the increase in offences is attributed to the wider use of alcohol due to the lifting of the state of emergency regulations. The regulations had restricted the sale and use of alcohol.

He added that the loss of jobs and the economic fallout caused by Covid-19 is tangible and has exacerbated by the socio-economic conditions under which people live.

“These are challenging times for people all over the world. However, we cannot allow our children and our women to live in our communities where we as their men, their brothers and protectors, are the ones that are tearing the fabric of our homes apart by wreaking horror on them through rape, violence and murder.”

The governor challenged residents of the Erongo region to join him in standing up against the scourge of GBV.

“We must make a commitment that we will not tolerate this any longer. Let us alert the authorities of vulnerable children that we witness being neglected and abused, as well as women that we know are being abused in their homes or in their intimate relationships/marriages by abusive partners and spouses. This can be done anonymously.”

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