26 Mar 2014 15:10pm
WINDHOEK, 26 MAR (NAMPA) The Namibia Institute of Public Administration and Management (NIPAM) hosted a one-day public dialogue on gender-based violence (GBV) here on Wednesday.
It took place under the theme Understanding the Contributing Factors Towards Violence Against Women and Children.
Speaking during the event, Gender Equality and Child Welfare Minister Rosalia Nghidinwa said the issue of GBV is not an exclusive failure to Namibia, as virtually all countries have their fair share of this painful reality in post-modern societies.
In some societies, these sorts of crimes go unnoticed or unreported, while in Namibia, the killing of one innocent woman is not a small problem.
The minister said considering the size of the population, GBV targeted especially against women and children has drastically increased over the past few years.
Reports indicate that more than half of the victims suffer violence at the hands of those who claim to love them such as partners, parents and spouses.
Factors contributing to GBV in Namibia include unequal gender relations and discrimination, the disruption of social structures, rapid changes in cultural traditions, and cultural tolerances or practices which justify men's physical aggression against women.
Other contributing factors, according to Nghidinwa, are poverty and frustration due to unemployment, lack of productive work or decent or well-paying jobs, lack of respect for human rights, harmful cultural beliefs and practices, alcohol and drug abuse, HIV/AIDS and reproductive health issues as well as attitudes.
These factors can lead to acute or chronic physical injury, unwanted pregnancies, sexually-transmitted infections, HIV/AIDS, urinary tract infections and fistulas, reproductive health problems, emotional and psychological trauma, stigmatisation, rejection, isolation, depression, increased gender discrimination and death.
In response to these issues of gender inequality and GBV, the Namibian Government has enacted and ratified laws and conventions, and is also in the process of discussing the draft Divorce Bill, Marital Property Reform Bill and the Recognition of Customary Marriages Bill as well as Law Reform on Inheritance.
All these Bills are meant to address the inequalities which exist between men and women in Namibian society, stressed the minister.
In attendance were the Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, Minister of Health and Social Services Richard Kamwi and the Director of Nipam, Dr Joseph Diescho.