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Play your part against violence

Special Advisor in the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, former Ambassador, Tonata Itenge Emvula, is adamant that gender violence will be contained and eradicated. Photograph by Comfort Ajibola

Special Advisor in the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, former Ambassador, Tonata Itenge Emvula, is adamant that gender violence will be contained and eradicated. Photograph by Comfort Ajibola

After the recent march in Windhoek, themed ‘walk a mile in her shoes’, which commemorated  International Women’s Day, it was only fitting to approach the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare for further clarification. Mrs Tonata Itenge Emvula, the Special Advisor to the Minister was more than willing to outline the roles and actions being taken by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare.

She said the ministry’s tasks are too create awareness, work with other organisations, mostly  to give information but all this would be futile if society does not get involved. There are various women and child centres that offer support; medically, psychologically, also traditional authorities to whom these violent acts can be reported before it gets to this point. “How exactly can one identify the signs of abuse in a relationship before it reaches the point of a passion crime” she asked.
Emvula said the President requested that research be done on the root cause of the violence and that the public be given information on how to detect and tell the signs of abuse. Most abuse start small before escalating to a point where it is unmanageable. Perhaps understanding the causes might help in tackling them before it’ s too late. Questions like ‘What causes a man to think he owns a woman, simply because he provides for her? What cultural practises aid this perception? Is it always about finance?, need to be asked to get to the root of it all.

“The ministry recognises that there are multiple causes that lead to these crimes. Alcohol and drugs are too readily available within the country. This should not be the case. Individuals under the influence of alcohol or drugs act dangerously and will blame the substance for acts they commit. The effects of these substances are devastating to the society, and reacting when a situation arises is much too late. We need to tackle these factors now and not when a terrible situation is broadcast through all media forums.”
“Its take a village to educate a child. I remember growing up in my community. Every child who did wrong could be corrected by any member of the society. It was common. But now times have changed.  I have no right to correct a child I see doing wrong in the streets. This simple act of correcting the child in the street is quite profound. It means that these adults realise that this child will one day be a part of the society. Stopping a child doing wrong is helping the child to be a better, responsible adult in the future.”
“The lack of parents monitoring their children is also one to be recognised. They leave their children to the TV and other devices, exposing young children to various dangerous perceptions and ideas. The upbringing of a child also has an impact on actions they might make in the future. The recent observations has shown that the culprits are between the ages of 19 to 45. We need to understand their life journey to be able to tackle this situation,” she stated.
“How do you claim to love someone and cut their head off, because the person said ‘No’. The inability to handle rejection is also an aspect we should look at. It all goes back to the root. The upbringing, the influences and every single detail that makes up this individual.”
For those who are thinking of bringing back the death sentence, she reminded “The constitution prohibits the killing of criminals. I am not convinced that this is the solution either. It is all the recent media coverage and technological advancements that now make gender violence such a public affair, if not it would just have continued at any rate.”
“The ministry is not alone. It needs the input of all corresponding organisations and the interaction of the public. This is not the problem of the ministry alone, or those affected. It is our problem, as Namibians, if you have a solution, feel free to approach the ministry with your proposal. It is a Namibian problem now and it needs a Namibian solution. It must be an act of joint effort from everyone.” she said.

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