By Confidente Reporter
FIRST Lady Monica Geingos said that perpetrators of gender-based violence (GBV) not only cause immense pain and anguish to their victims but to the victims’ families as well as their loved ones too.
Geingos was speaking at the launch of the Be Free campaign that raises awareness on the social ill caused by GBV; spearheaded by her office and the Namibia Women’s Lawyers Association (NWLA) at Unam recently, an event that was also graced by relatives of slain Unam student Shapuline Shaduka (20).
Shaduka, who was a mother to a one-year-old boy Brian Ndengu, succumbed to four stab wounds to her neck, chest, back and wrist at the merciless hands of a 19-year-old man after she tried to get back her cap he had snatched from her two weeks ago in Katutura’s Ombili area.
“I was fine when we were talking about gender-based violence until the deceased’s son started to cry. What bothers me is the complexity of these murders; because what happens to that young boy? What happens to a young man who has to be raised in the absence of his mother? And I ask myself for what?
“…Have you ever heard somebody heartbroken cry in that moment that they’ve realised they lost someone? The pain. Often I wondered, if only potential perpetrators can see the pain they cause to the families of the lives they take but also the pain they cause to their own families. Because gender-based violence whether its rape, murder or constant abuse, it doesn’t just hurt the victim and the perpetrator, it hurts their families, their children and its hurts everybody,” said Geingos.
Geingos said what happened to Shaduka is an indication of high levels of violence in society. She said that nobody is safe from the scourge adding that perpetrators should not be protected.
“…People condemn those who perpetrate GBV but when it is our sons and our brothers we are first to defend them. When we talk about GBV, don’t think about others but about yourself because we have been exposed to GBV whether direct or indirect. Let us start internalising this message because the consequences are painful.
“We need to start speaking out on behalf of people we know are suffering…be willing to give statements to the police. The biggest challenge we’ve seen is that those who know facts aren’t willing to put their names to statements, they don’t want inconvenience of going to court but in the absence of witnesses willing to give solid statements to police, very little can be done.”
She however said that a lot of situations can be avoided or solved if individuals are just better people adding society should free itself from cases of GBV witnessed.
“This is not a gender issue but an issue of each one needing to regulate oneself. We must respect ourselves, it’s about being conscious of what you allow to happen in your life.
“Free yourself of abusive relationships you witnessed. We have all been children in houses where people abused one another. You do not need to repeat what happened in your parental home. Free yourself from those wounds because that pain that we lived with that we haven’t discussed, is what’s driving our behaviors now as adults.”
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