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‘We have the right to live free of violence’

WOMEN who attended a demonstration against gender-based violence (GBV) in the Oshana region yesterday say they have the right to live free of violence perpetrated by governments, businesses and men.

The women, who are part of the Namibia Rural Women’s Assembly (NRWA), chanted and sang during the demonstration held at Olulongo village at Okatana.

The rural women who are currently camping at Olulongo while demonstrating are advocating a GBV-free country.

NRWA chairperson Elizabeth Amutenya in a petition said women in rural areas are seen as inferior, as the helpers of men, as a source of cheap and unpaid labour, and as objects of sexual exploitation.

“This is the source of women’s oppression in a system of power that benefits men, and an economic system aimed at profit.

“Nature is reduced to a commodity to be bought, sold and exploited for the benefit of a few.

“We say this system is violent against us as women. Women hold the seeds, the knowledge of farming, and the heritage of communitities, ensuring there is food, safe water, and energy.

“Women nurse the young and the sick,” Amutenya said.

She said the organisation is discouraging GBV as women and the most vulnerable are the main targets in communities.

“The elderly are hacked to death by their own sons and daughters; young girls and women are being raped and killed every day; innocent children are dumped all over; and baby dumping is not the solution for unwanted pregnancies.

“Young men are committing suicide countrywide, and this kind of action can no longer be tolerated as this is regarded as inhuman. As caring mothers, we are rejecting this practice, which must stop immediately,” she said.

Furthermore, the rural women called upon regional governors as the heads of regions to assist them in fighting all types of GBV in the regions.

“We no longer feel safe. Our children are at risk of being victims of kidnapping and rape on a daily basis. We want to appeal to our law-enforcement agencies to severely punish all those who continue committing these criminal activities,” Teopolina Hango, a member of NRWA, said.

The organisation said it wants women and girls to have a festive season filled with love, peace, and harmony, free from GBV.

“Please give us hope for the future. Let love lead. Enough is enough. We want freedom,” Hango said.

The large number of rural women from the four northern regions of Oshana, Omusati, Ohangwena and Oshikoto have been gathered at Olulongo village since Sunday.

NRWA is a non-profit organisation supporting rural women.

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