In Angola, gender-based violence is seen as the top challenge to women’s rights
Gender-based violence is the most important women’s-rights issue that Angolans want the government and society to address, many citing it as a common problem in homes and communities, according to the latest Afrobarometer (www.Afrobarometer.org) survey.
A majority of citizens say it is never justified for men to use physical force to discipline their wives, and most say gender-based violence is a criminal matter that requires the involvement of law enforcement authorities, rather than a private affair that should be handled within the family.
But half of Angolans say that a woman is likely to be criticised, harassed, or shamed if she reports gender-based violence to the authorities.
- Nearly one-quarter (23%) of Angolans see gender-based violence (GBV) as the most important women’s-rights issue that the government and society must address.
- A majority (62%) of citizens say violence against women and girls is a “somewhat common” (35%) or “very common” (27%) occurrence in their community.
- More than two-thirds (69%) of Angolans say it is “never” justified for a man to use physical force to discipline his wife. Three in 10 consider it “sometimes” (20%) or “always” (9%) justified.
- About half (49%) of respondents consider it “somewhat likely” (23%) or “very likely” (26%) that a woman who reports GBV will be criticised, harassed, or shamed by members of the community.
- But a majority (59%) of citizens believe that the police are likely to take cases of GBV seriously.
- Two-thirds (67%) of Angolans say domestic violence should be treated as a criminal matter, rather than as a private matter to be resolved within the family.
Afrobarometer is a pan-African, non-partisan survey research network that provides reliable data on African experiences and evaluations of democracy, governance, and quality of life. Eight survey rounds in up to 39 countries have been completed since 1999. Round 9 surveys (2021/2022) are currently underway. Afrobarometer’s national partners conduct face-to-face interviews in the language of the respondent’s choice.
The Afrobarometer team in Angola, led by Ovilongwa – Estudos de Opinião Pública, interviewed a nationally representative sample of 1,200 adult Angolans between 9 February and 8 March 2022. A sample of this size yields country-level results with a margin of error of +/-3 percentage points at a 95% confidence level. A previous survey was conducted in Angola in 2019.
To download the full publication, click here (https://bit.ly/3GuqZ15).
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Afrobarometer.
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Why are anti-femicide protesters taking to Namibia’s streets?
Youth-led protests have been demanding immediate political action on sexual gender-based violence in Namibia.
In the past week, Namibia has been rocked by a wave of protests against sexual gender-based violence disrupting public life [James Jamu/Al Jazeera]
Published On 13 Oct 202013 Oct 2020
Windhoek, Namibia – When Bertha Tobias first headed to the streets of Namibia’s capital last week, she had one clear goal in mind: Shut it all down.
The young activist, like many of the hundreds of other protesters in Windhoek, was enraged after news emerged that police believed to have found in the dunes of the port town of Walvis Bay the remains of Shannon Wasserfall, a woman in her early 20s who had gone missing in April.
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Demanding justice, like-minded campaigners swiftly mobilised through social media to protest sexual gender-based violence (SGBV). Marching through the streets of Windhoek and other Namibian cities, they pledged to keep protesting until substantial political action was taken to address femicide, rape and sexual abuse.
“We just want to be able to go out of our house after 6pm and feel safe,” said Tobias, an outspoken 20-year-old activist in Windhoek.
Leebus Hashikutuva, another protester in the capital, described the #shutitalldown movement as a series of actions meant to disrupt public life nationwide.
“All over the country, everyone is frustrated, concerned, traumatised – and everybody is tired,” Hashikutuva said. “The revolution will not only be televised but it will also be tweeted and Instagrammed. We are using the power of social media as a collective.”
Campaigners say Namibia is facing a sexual and gender-based violence crisis [James Jamu/Al Jazeera]
SGBV is a persistent problem in Namibia intimate-partner violence against women and girls, sexual violence by non-partners and femicide. Reports earlier this year said police were receiving at least 200 cases of domestic violence monthly, while more than 1,600 cases of rape were reported during the 18 months ending in June 2020.
Campaigners said that, like in other parts of the world, a months-long lockdown to slow the spread of coronavirus pandemic had now made life even harder for domestic violence survivors forced to self-isolate with their abusers.
On Friday, while protests were continuing, 27-year-old Gwashiti Tomas was allegedly brutally murdered by her boyfriend because she wanted to end their relationship.
With politicians failing to deliver progress, many women said the fear of violence was constantly accompanying them.
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When asked about the changes she would like to see, Tobias replied, “I don’t know if we’ll live to see this, because change is happening so slowly, but the ideal situation would just be to leave my house after dark and go out to buy milk; to not have to send a live location as soon as I leave my house that is active for eight hours; to not have to take down the details of a cab because otherwise I’ll be decapitated and my body will be left in a ditch.”
‘Culture of silence’
In a petition addressed to the speaker of the National Assembly, the campaigners called on authorities to declare a state emergency over SGBV; consult with SGBV experts to tackle the problem; and prioritise the urgent review of sentencing laws for sex offenders and murderers, among others. They also demanded the resignation of Doreen Sioka, minister of gender equality, poverty eradication and social welfare.
In addition, Sister Namibia, a non-profit organisation promoting women’s rights, published on social media a detailed 10-point action plan for the government to implement.
Ndapwa Alweendo, the group’s spokesperson, said stigmatisation of victims was at the root of the problem. “There’s a culture of silence in place to keep women and children from speaking out. There’s a stigma about coming out as a survivor of any kind of violence. This has been a problem in the country since the fight for independence.”
She further argued that the problem in tackling SGBV in the country was not a lack of expertise, but the disconnect between the government and civil society organisations.
“There have been two national action plans against SGBV that have been developed [in 2016 and 2018],” said Alweendo. “The plans exist, but they are not being put into action. There’s a back-and-forth between government and civil society. Criticism of the government is often seen as an attack.”
Activists say they are planning further protests in different cities to demand immediate political action [James Jamu/Al Jazeera]
Al Jazeera contacted the Ministry of Gender Equality, but did not receive a response by the time of publication. In a statement on Sunday, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said the petition submitted by the campaigners would receive “priority” and stressed that the government was “in full agreement” with the public that the high incidences of sexual and gender-based violence in the country “cannot be allowed to continue”.
Late on Tuesday, the government announced its response to the campaigners’ petition, saying, among other measures, that “the current legal and policy environment shall be strengthened” to deal with gender-based violence issues.
Even though the government’s statement did not meet the demands seeking the declaration of a state of emergency over SGBV and Sioka’s departure, some activists deemed the response satisfactory.
“Now, we can work on meaningful collaboration with the government,” Tobias said.
Source: Al Jazeera