Child Rape On the Rise in Oshikoto

OSHIVELO-Police statistics in Oshikoto suggest that the prevalent crime of rape in the region has risen by 70 percent with minors making up the bulk of the victims.

According to statistics the number of adult rape victims has risen by one from 7 in 2013 to 8 in 2014, while minors make up the bulk of rape cases rising from 14 cases in 2013 to 22 cases in 2014. With an average of at least two rapes being reported each weekend. It is hard to argue with law enforcement officers, who are convinced an increase is inevitable.

Statistics revealed a total of 21 rape cases were reported from January to June in 2013, the number has since increased by 9 and the current rape tally now stands at 30. Considered the only crime in which the victims become the accused. Statistics showed 5 cases of rapes were reported during the month of March last year, this number has since doubled in 2014 as 10 cases have been reported for the same period. The increase has left law enforcement officers at their wits ends as to why so many Namibian men opt for rape.

“I do not know what is driving men to rape women” said Oshikoto police regional public relations officer Iseskar Arachab who last week urged women to refrain from moving around in dark areas alone especially at shebeens because sexual predators frequent those places. Unfortunately a 14 year old boy raping a 7 year old girl or a 46 year old man raping a 16 year old girl is not entirely surprising in the region. This is one of the reasons why the crime could not be tied to one age group.

The report also showed that most incidents occur in the absence of parents who are allegedly at shebeens, either selling or drinking alcohol. The Police report cited alcohol abuse, witchcraft, cultural beliefs, poverty and lack of education as the main causes behind the heinous crime, with most cases being reported in remote areas of Oshikoto. Walking in groups or staying away from dark routes are both beautiful theories tainted by an ugly fact. More often than not victims know their rapists as in most cases the rapist is a relative or family friend. One of the methods devised to combat rape, is to intensify awareness campaigns in all corners of Oshikoto. “Men need to understand their roles as protectors in society as well as the role of our women and children” said Arachab. “Strength cannot be demonstrated on weaker individuals. When this is done you are simply portraying a deep weakness within, strength is the power to stand up for what is right, even in the absence of watchful eyes. Having the courage to change when you are alone and know that what you are doing is wrong is a trait of a truly powerful individual. Anyone can stand up for themselves against any person, it takes true courage to stand up for what is right especially against oneself” added Arachab.

Arachab further mentioned that although the physical pain heals, the mental effects remain. Rape is perceived as a taboo topic. Law enforcement officers conceded that there are knowledge gaps with regards to sexual violence, which makes village elders, headmen, councillors and leaders uncomfortable. Rape often goes unreported and when it is reported victims are sometimes held responsible and shunned while little is done to impeach perpetrators. This is one of the reasons why rape is considered the only crime in which the victim becomes the accused.

Source : New Era