By Dilia Mazula
Even though the Namibian Constitution gives special attention to children’s rights to protection from anything that violates their welfare, violence against women and children remains one of Namibia’s most severe human rights problems.
In a joint and final commemoration of April as ‘Sexual Assault Awareness Month’ Future Media News interviewed Tuuliki Kaahalele Amwele, writer of the book ‘Children’s Guide to Public and Personal Safety, who shared her views on pedophilia and sexual assault as a whole.
Tuuliki said that a lot of children get sexually violated by their relatives and the biggest obstacle standing in the way of them getting help, is their guardian, who in most cases refuse to believe them or report the matter to the police
“A number of people are very concerned about what society thinks of them, they would rather keep the offense as a private family matter instead of reporting it to the police because they do not want anyone outside the family knowing they have a pedophile in the family” she said.
In most instances, parents choose not to believe their child is being sexually violated by their relative because of the taboo embedded with sexual assault and violations against children. “Most parents would not want to address the incident because of morality culture values in society and principles and the fact that this is like a taboo in society,” said Tuuliki.
She added that if the perpetrator is the family’s breadwinner, then families tend to hide the offense because they have fear of losing their financial support.
Tuuliki pinpointed education as a way to provide people with a clear understanding of how to support victims of sexual assault, noting that many people prefer to blame the victim because they are not civilized enough to truly grasp the seriousness of the offense.
Ridiculing the belief that how the victim was dressed when they got sexually assaulted is the cause of their fate, Tuuliki attested that, whether a person was dressed provocative or not, there is no excuse for sexual assault.
She called on the Ministry of Education to introduce ‘sexual assault awareness’” as a subject in the national school’s curriculum. “We need manuals, guidelines and books like the one l wrote, that can be in the education curriculum so that children can be taught how they can combat these issues if they find themselves in such a predicament,” she said.
Tuuliki advised that victims should always use their emotional intelligence to choose the right person to share with what has happened to them, “someone they know they can entrust and will be able to help.”