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Sign the #BreakFree pledge and be reminded all the time not to submit to gender violence

Sign the #BreakFree pledge and be reminded all the time not to submit to gender violence

First Lady Monica Geingos launched the #BreakFree anti-violence campaign at the opening of the academic year at the University of Namibia. (Photograph by UNAM)

Every single person in a large group of parents signed a pledge at a workshop in February to rid themselves of all forms of violence with particular emphasis on gender violence. To mark this momentous commitment, each parent received a certificate indicating their successful participation in a workshop on violence as part of the Wildernis Therapy programme.

The workshop on gender violence was conducted by Dr Veronica Theron, a Technical Advisor attached to the Office of the First Lady. The workshop was the first tangible step to spread the message on gender violence after Madam Geingos launched her #BreakFree Anti-Violence campaign on 16 February at a ceremony at the University of Namibia’s main campus which marked the beginning of the academic year.

Namibia’s First Lady concerns herself with social issues that have a negative impact on people’s lives. She focuses on women and young people. At the UNAM function, she introduced her campaign to the university’s staff and students. Sharing her own experience as a student, she said “I had to make decisions on my own and I was exceptionally unequipped to make those decisions. The issues that you face now are not different from the issues that we faced then, the only difference is the exposure to social media today that was not the case in our time”.

Garnering the power of social media is one of the strategies the First Lady employs to reach people on gender violence. To the UNAM students, she said “Gender violence does not exist in isolation from generally high levels of violence within society. We must speak of the greater context of violence. We have a tendency of believing that if we have not been viciously assaulted, it is not that bad and that we are not victims or perpetrators of violence.”

The #BreakFree campaign is rolled out to communities through workshops across the country to get adults to publicly commit to a violence-free lifestyle. Signing the #BreakFree pledge is a tangible testimony that constantly reminds the parent, husband or wife to abstain from any form of gender violence.



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