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This Week In The Khuta – What’s in a mini?

This week, I again got to witness the backward thinking of some of our male citizens.
While I was standing in a long bank queue to deposit money, three girls dressed in shorts and mini skirts walked in and joined the queue. In the same queue, was a police officer.
The girls were chatting away when he suddenly interrupted the girls’ conservation, by asking: “Aren’t you afraid of being raped by men?” Puzzled, the girls asked why.
He told them because of the way they were dressed, he considered it provocative.
Naturally, a debate erupted between the two parties, with the officer still standing by his argument that they would be raped.
What really puzzled me was that it was a man in uniform saying this.
The point I am trying to make is, dress code should not be used as an excuse by men to do bodily harm to anybody. We should not tolerate sexual harassment and try to justify it with sordid excuses.
This incident made me wonder, should any girl report a case of sexual harassment to this police officer while he is on duty, will he help her or still try to side with the perpetrator and blame the victim?
Last year, two women were harassed at a taxi rank in South Africa, because of what they were wearing. One of them was apparently wearing a mini skirt at the Noord Taxi Rank in Johannesburg. A Persons dress code is no excuse to harass them; neither should people find totally absurd excuses to abuse anyone.
To condemn the reported harassment and groping of the two ladies, the ANC Women League are hosting a mini skirt march against women abuse on Friday, 17 February. The march was organised by the ANC Women’s League and women who feel the rate of women abuse is too high are encouraged to join the mini skirt march.
Please take note, the march is not merely about the mini skirt, but the abuse dynamics and  ignorance towards abuse. Its activism targeted towards educating people and changing mindsets towards abuse and sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment is of great concern even in Namibia. I know one too many people who are hopeless, given the high rate of abuse.
If one reads media reports, sexual abuse is one of the many offences reported on.
Hence, the mindset and approach towards abuse should be stressed amongst our men and women in uniform as well. If they tolerate and justify abuse, how can justice be served?
We have heard of cases whereby police officers have turned away people when they report incidents of abuse.
In general, there is a need for a change of mindset towards abuse in Namibia.
Just because abuse cases are too many it does not mean we should sit back and say “Yeah, its just another case!”
Instead, we should continue to fight such violations. We should respect others and their choices, be it their dress code.
I know there are organisations and even some police officers doing a commendable job to curb such acts, but the few or many of us who try to justify sexual harassment or any sort of abuse should maybe join in the march as we ought to look at issues from a different perspective.
World peace!

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