Namibia Gender Ministry Finds Shelter For Rape Victims

By Loide Jason

The gender ministry has found safe shelter for a victim of gender-based violence following a New Era report yesterday.

Gender minister Doreen Sioka yesterday said the 19-year-old victim from Ohangwena region, who has claimed sexual exploitation and abuse by her close relatives and neighbour, will be placed in a place of safety.

Yesterday, New Era reported a shocking incident of sexual abuse and beatings of the woman from Ohepa village in Omulonga constituency.

Sioka, who was touched by the story, said the victim will be accommodated at one of the shelters of safety, operated by her ministry until investigations into the matter are completed.

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The minister described the story as heartbreaking and shocking, saying this specific case will be given priority and that officials from that region were supposed to act swiftly to make sure the victim was immediately removed and protected while investigations continue.

“This is very sad and shocking news that a person is being abused by the same people who were supposed to protect and defend her. I don’t know what went in the mind of our people. They are turning against orphans and abusing them; it is indeed a shame,” lamented the minister.

She said the ministry has shelter where it accommodates such victims of physical and sexual abuse and they could be provided with basic needs.

“I don’t know what went wrong with our officials that side, because they were supposed to grab this woman immediately and accommodate her in those houses. I did not consult them but they were supposed to remove them (victims). I have now instructed our director to make sure that the person is removed. She will surely be removed by our officials; that I can assure you,” the minister said.

She further proposed that those involved should be brought to book and be an example to others so that such incidents are not repeated.

 Sioka urged neighbourhoods to be one another’s keepers and to report such cases to authorities for prompt action to be taken so that vulnerable people do not endure such abuse.

The minister further explained that the ministry would make sure the baby of the victim is registered for the social grants offered by the government to the orphans and vulnerable children.

Police chief Sebastian Ndeitunga said although the victim is not a minor, the police will jointly assist her to open a case so that she is protected.

“By law, the government can take over the case when a victim is a minor or mentally disturbed; however, in this case, this has to do with dependency – and of course, we cannot allow the person to continue withstanding abuse. Therefore, we will protect her,” he said.

He further said he will enquire from the regional crime investigations coordinator Zacharia Amakali to find out what is stopping them from apprehending the culprits.

“All I can assure you is that the victims have to be assisted and protected. We will jointly protect her and her baby. She will no longer be abused. However, we cannot accommodate her because we do not have facilities but the ministry of gender has to come in and accommodate her,” Ndeitunga explained.

The victim revealed she has been forced to repetitively have unprotected sex with her two cousins and a neighbour for the past two years.

The victim, who has never attended school, narrated her story to New Era, saying her close relatives started being abusive when she moved in with her grandparents in 2018.

The woman was initially under the care of a guardian following the death of her parents.

Source: New Era

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