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Understanding depth of SGBV costs should guide governments’ policies: EU

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The European Union’s head of delegation to Namibia, Sinikka Antila said the costs of Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV), ranging from physical and mental health to socio-economic and macroeconomic spheres requires in-depth understanding to guide government’s policies. Antila said this […]

The European Union’s head of delegation to Namibia, Sinikka Antila said the costs of Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV), ranging from physical and mental health to socio-economic and macroeconomic spheres requires in-depth understanding to guide government’s policies.

Antila said this during a public dialogue on the role of service providers towards the safety of women and children in combatting SGBV held in Windhoek on Saturday.

According to her, such costs are borne not only by the individuals but by the entire society.

“The psychological damages and scars the survivors carry, often for life, prevent them from living their lives fully and, therefore, from contributing creatively to their communities and society,” said Antila.

Antila also stated that prevention of violence against women and girls requires a community-based, multi-pronged approach with engagement by multiple stakeholders.

“I believe that we can only improve the situation for the victims and potential future victims if we act in concert and address the various root causes. It is imperative to work with men as the great majority of perpetrators of violence are men. It is imperative to work with boys to break the cycle of violence for the new generation. We need to bring everyone on board to see a change on the ground,” she stated.

Antila further called on the removal of stigma associated with rape and other forms of SGBV, saying it is necessary to operate a paradigm shift towards rejection of violence at all levels.

“Survivors, human rights defenders and local women’s groups have a key role to play in the efforts to ensure justice and restore dignity. Survivors must be empowered so that they can control their own destinies and help shape the future of their communities,” she said.

Antila also affirmed that the EU is committed to support action for the promotion of women and children’s rights as well as economic, social and cultural rights in Namibia.

“The EU remains at the forefront of combating SGBV both at home and around the world by supporting partner countries, civil society and other stakeholders in their action against SGBV. Combatting all forms of violence against women and girls remains a key priority for the EU and as such, we join our voice to put an end to SGBV in Namibia. We must provide those affected with the support they need to rebuild their lives and ensure that these women and girls continue to participate fully in all aspects of society,” stated Antila.

According to the EU, 32 per cent of Namibian women aged 15 to 49 have experienced physical violence at least once since the age of 15. Only four per cent of survivors go to the police. Most perpetrators of GBV are alleged to be close partners, as many as 38 per cent of murders of women are said to be committed by an intimate partner.

Source: Namibia Press Agency

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