JUSTICE minister Sacky Shanghala says the unabated violence against especially women and children has necessitates an urgency to reform existing laws to aid those subjected to gender-based violence in the country.
Speaking at a panel discussion held by the Institute of Public Policy Research, (IPPR), themed, “Landscaping Gender-Based Violence in Namibia”, Shanghala stated that legal instruments which need amendment include the Amendment of the Divorce Act to ease strict marital conditions for women who are in abusive relationships to leave the partners more easily, and changing of conditions in the Combating of Rape Act, adding that the absence of a hymen in young rape survivors does not mean the act did not take place.
Shanghala stated that the above legal instruments and several other Acts will be reviewed next week. “Namibia cannot continue to lag behind the rest of the world, we need to stop talking and take action,” Shanghala stressed.
He added that the Ministry of Justice is willing to aid with resources in the creation of more safe houses for women in abusive relationships with nowhere else to go.
“I’m the chairperson of the preservation of organised crimes. We are sitting with N$41 million that has been allocated to the Ministry of Justice. Some of this money can be used to construct safe houses for abused women,” Shanghala suggested.
He added that the time has come for Namibians to change their way of thinking about topics related to the LGBT community, violence against women and children and how different genders relate to one another.
“These people that perpetrate these crimes are mostly men. The problem boils down to our socialisation process. This translates to new ways of thinking in boys due to parenting,” Shanghala stressed.
In the Democracy Report findings on GBV, the IPPR reported that 28% of Namibian women believe that a husband or spouse is justified in beating his partner for specified reasons, while 32% of women between the ages of 15 and 49 have experienced physical violence within marriage at least once.
The report also stated that 29.5% of young men agree that a husband can beat his wife.