EARLIER this week, I read an article in a local daily which quoted the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) report which observed that Namibians tolerate domestic violence and offer little protection to victims.
I was both saddened and disgusted at the notion, but I knew deep down that there was some truth to that statement because people are nonchalant when discussions on the matter are held.
If anything the first response is to ask what the victim (who in most cases is a woman) did wrong to inspire that level of violence from the partner. I grew up hearing that a certain ethnic group almost always expected violence from their boyfriends/husbands, and if he did not beat her it was a sign that he did not love her.
It was such a common thing to say that when we saw a woman of that ethnicity was being assaulted, no one dared to interfere because it was assumed that was their way of life.
My mind drifted off to the people who have the power to sensitise the nation on the matter. Traditional and political leaders come to mind, but celebrities have more influence of course especially where their fans are involved.
We have seen how people opt to do certain things merely because their favourite celebrity is also doing them. Celebrities have so much influence; however local celebrities will only speak out on something when there is a dollar in it for them.
Those who occasionally speak up against this kind of abuse are generally the ones who have been accused of it and merely speak out as a way to exonerate themselves.
I can’t remember the last time a local celebrity decided to get up of their own volition and speak out against abuse. If anything, only their involvement in domestic violence cases is heard, so obviously their fans will take it as a sign that real hip hop artists smack their girlfriends around, or real kwaito artists get into knife fights.
Some of our local celebrities are too busy trying to be divas to actually talk to their fans, and encourage them to speak up against abuse, tell someone, or even just talk to that celebrity so they can send them to the relevant authority on the matter – (Namibian celebrities are not so busy they can’t talk to their fans, I’m sorry to say).
And I’m not talking about some generic or forced Johnny Depp/Amber Heard, type of speech (when they snuck their dogs into Australia) that makes one cringe. I am talking about a sincere one where the viewer gets goose bumps because it is heartfelt.
Domestic violence is not one of those things where someone can decide to not comment on. It requires a group effort; it requires us all to say it’s wrong and actually shun those who are guilty
I believe that you are just as guilty as the perpetrator when you know that you can do something about it, yet still stand on the side-lines and watch it happen. Do not wait for some ministry or company to enlist you to endorse their campaign. Be proactive as a celebrity, an influential member of society and educate your fans on how domestic violence is.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015