03 Apr 2014 18:50pm
WINDHOEK, 03 APR (NAMPA) The Ecumenical Action Against Gender-Based Violence (EAAGBV) project was launched here on Thursday.
The project was initiated by the Council of Churches in Namibia (CCN) in conjunction with the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare (MGECW) and the Helsinki Deaconess Institute (HDI).
It aims to address any form of violence against mostly women and children by promoting gender equality among men and women, and human rights in Namibia.
In her keynote address during the launch, gender equality minister Rosalia Nghidinwa said gender-based violence (GBV) is a severe human rights violation, and constitutes one of the most destructive and harmful manifestations of gender inequality globally, which includes all forms of violence like an intimate partners rape, sexual assault and physical and psychological abuse.
It has severe short- and long-term implications on the mental and physical health of survivors, the victim and perpetrators families and the society at large, thus GBV is a social pathology which needs the involvement of all stakeholders in our social structures, she said.
Nghidinwa noted that recent research has established a clear association between intimate partners violence and HIV/AIDS, with women experiencing such violence, and that women living with HIV/AIDS are vulnerable and more likely to experience physical and psychological violence.
We need to join forces and share our resources efficiently and effectively the way we are doing with HIV/AIDS because of the similarities of some of the root causes, and the same strategies should be applied to address GBV, said the minister.
Research also revealed that one out of three women in Namibia has experienced or will experience GBV in her life, and nine out of 10 victims of domestic violence are female, she said.
Nghidinwa indicated that there are about 1 200 rape cases reported each year, but giving the societal silence and stigma around GBV in Namibia, it is likely that rape is under-reported.
In 2010, only 16 per cent of rapists reported were convicted. The MGECW is introducing coordination mechanism to mainstream gender equality and GBV in public and private sectors, she said.
The minister added that churches and traditional leaders are key stakeholders because of the existence of their structures within the communities in society.
The launch event was attended by various stakeholders, including church leaders and representatives from the Finnish Embassy.