GOBABIS, 23 MAY (NAMPA) - The Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Rosalia Nghindinwa has called on women to empower themselves in order to move away from their dependency on men.
She said women need to improve their education, and also acquire new skills which will see them being independent and serve as a tool to breaking the cycle of violence against them.
Addressing a community meeting in Gobabis on Wednesday, Nghindinwa said women are many a time forced to withdraw cases of assault and other forms of abuse laid with the police against their partners, because they are dependent on them for a living.
It was thus high time that women took charge of their destiny by liberating themselves through available structures, as sorely depending on men for their survival has proven to have catastrophic effects, she noted.
?I want to encourage women to improve their education levels so that they can equip themselves with marketable skills. These skills do not necessarily need to be degrees or diplomas, but they can either be handcraft, art or any talent that can be creatively honed into a useful craft,? she said.
Nghindinwa then called on those present to encourage a culture of open communication with their children to avoid them becoming victims of gender-based violence at a later stage.
She also used the platform to call on men who are victims of gender-based violence at the hands of their partners to come out, as continuing to suffer in silence will only be detrimental to them.
The minister further called on all relevant stakeholders to come on board and join the fight against gender-based violence, adding that the fight against crime committed against women should not be left to Government alone as its effects spread across all sectors of society.
?My ministry is planning to come up with a structure that would involve traditional, church, community and other leaders at all levels, including youth leaders, to play their part in combating gender-based violence,? she stressed.
The Omaheke Region is one of the regions with a relatively high number of cases involving gender-based violence, ranging from common assault to rape.
Although official figures are yet to be released, law-enforcement officers estimate that official figures will only scratch the surface of the matter as most cases are not reported by the victims for fear of losing a source of income.
Most of these cases have, according to social workers, been linked to alcohol and substance abuse - common vices in the Omaheke region.