First Lady Monica Geingos Highlights Namibia’s GBV Issues At Aids Conference

By Alvine Kapitako

 First Lady Monica Geingos on Wednesday told the international AIDS conference in Amsterdam that there is a huge disparity between the country’s legal framework on women and the statistics on the ground concerning women and children.

namibia first lady

Geingos was responding to a question on how the ‘law can be used to address social norms such as passion killing and baby dumping’ during a session with young people.

“Namibia probably has some of the best laws on the equality of women. So our legal framework should actually translate into an equal society with very little gender-based violence. The statistics are telling us that’s not the case so the legal framework is important but it’s not enough because you can’t legislate a change of mind in men who have become accustomed to this behaviour,” commented Geingos.

Her comments coincided with the killing of a 24-year-old woman by her boyfriend who also turned the gun on himself on Wednesday morning in Windhoek.

Geingos said the issue of violence against women and children has to go back to nation-building.

 Our elections were supervised by the United Nations, what does that tell you? We’re a post-conflict society but we don’t identify as a post-conflict society when we draft our National Development Plans,” said Geingos.

She said the country’s National Development Plans are about economics “and everything else about how we’re going to grow these sectors – agriculture, tourism, minerals – but we’re not talking about people and the macro”.

 Geingos said that for post-conflict societies it is very normal to have high levels of fatherlessness, dysfunctional families, alcohol and drug abuse, high levels of general violence and high levels of gender-based violence.

“Now you don’t factor that into your developmental programmes and within your macro-economic outlook – you don’t fund, for instance, more social workers, more psycho-social support. They’re seen as a cost,” Geingos added.

She also said that there is recognition that Namibia has a big challenge with alcohol and drug abuse.

“But guess what? We only have one state facility for alcohol and drug abuse that takes 80 people per annum and of those 80 people it takes, it doesn’t take children under the age of 18. So there is a huge mismatch between our social realities and the funding that we assign to some of these issues,” said Geingos.

Furthermore, Geingos highlighted that according to statistics when it comes to violence in general, a male Namibian is much more likely to experience violence from another man.

“Gender-based violence does not exist in isolation to general levels of violence. So a man who kills another man in a bar because he stood on his shoe and didn’t say sorry will certainly kill his wife or girlfriend if he suspects her of cheating,” Geingos said, adding that there is a need to address the societies that regard violence as a form of communication.

“So if my daughter annoys me and I beat her, what am I saying to all of my children? Violence is an acceptable form of communication when you’re feeling frustrated, angry, and insecure or you have an emotion you want to project, and those are the conversations we want to expand so that we don’t just look at gender-based violence in isolation to other nuances,” said Geingos.

Source: allafrica.com

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