Gender-based violence (GBV) still remains one of the biggest challenges in Namibia, where one in every three married women has experienced abuse from their spouses, Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Doreen Sioka has said.
Sioka said this in her speech read on her behalf during the International Women’s Day celebrations here on Thursday.
She said as per the 2013 National Demographic Health Survey, 33 per cent of women aged 15 to 49 have experienced physical, sexual, psychological and or emotional violence from their spouses.
“Violence is higher among women with no or little education, having many children and living in rural areas, and they never seek help,” said the minister.
She further said 32 per cent of adolescent girls aged 15-19 and 35 per cent of young girls aged 20-24 have experienced physical violence from a partner, while 6 per cent of women reported physical violence during pregnancy, predominantly among younger women aged 15-24.
“Apart from GBV we are also faced with the challenge of child marriages in our country. Child marriage is a worst kind of atrocity perpetrated in the name of culture and it is equivalent to murder.”
Sioka said child marriages permanently damage the future of innocent Namibian children.
“I therefore seriously condemn this practice. It is a shame that we should be even having such things happening right in our homes and neighbourhoods, and we should not turn a blind eye on them. I urge you all to work towards total elimination in our respective societies.”
Sioka indicated that her ministry conducted a National Formative Study on Child Marriages in December last year in the Kavango West, Kunene, Ohangwena, Omusati and Zambezi regions.
“The purpose of the study was to highlight the state of child marriages in Namibia to inform the development of evidence-based policies, legal reform, resource mobilisation and programming.”
Sioka noted that the recommendations of the study will be implemented in order to address child marriages.
The day was celebrated under the local theme 'From Peace in the Home, to Peace in Namibia’ and an international theme ‘Press for Progress’.
- Title: GBV and child marriages big challenges for Namibia: Sioka
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- Date: 5:12 PM