Violence against Women and Girls in Namibia

Understanding the perpetrators and developing measures for prevention and treatment

Also available in Deutsch

The report analyses the reasons for the perpetration of violence against women and girls and develops measures for prevention and treatment.

Tri Partite of the Research Project
Tri Partite of the Research Project

The escalating violent crimes committed against women and girls in Namibia, poses a serious threat to the basic fabric of Namibian society, as this is just the tip of the iceberg, reflecting the country’s social health in terms of: the cultural aspects of our patriarchal society; and our violent colonial past that is perpetuated in post-independent Namibia. The newly acquired freedom of basic Human Rights, seems not to be applicable to all Namibian citizens, especially women and girls, as male counterparts seemingly struggle to perceive that human rights issues are inclusive of women’s rights as well. The study was conducted during 2006, as a joint collaborative effort amongst Women’s Actions for Development (WAD), The University of Namibia (UNAM), and the Namibia Prison Service (NPS). The rationale was to get insight into the perceptions of male perpetrators’ and their reasons for committing violence against women and girls in their society.

The study revealed that cultural factors, alcohol consumption, low levels of education, lack of employment, socio-economic marginalization, broken family systems, and poor socialisation, were all contributing factors that underlie the violent crimes committed against women and children. Most of the perpetrators were ignorant of what the new rape act constituted, and that having sex against their partner’s, wives against her will is a criminal offence. Some perpetrators perceived the criminal justice system as biased towards women, and that the current rehabilitation programmes for prisoners in Namibia are inadequate, in particular the psycho- therapeutic aspects for modifying deviant behaviour.

Potential personality traits also played a role of a violent disposition, which could be assessed in advance by clinical psychologists. Certain cultural groups were also more prone to committing violent crimes towards women and children, a factor that should be considered by various stakeholders, if we want to adequately addressed violence in our society.


Namibia, July 23, 2008

The study contains 125 pages.