Source: The Namibian
THE recent killing of sisters Jacqueline and Cecilia Kauseua is an extreme example of how women are treated in "a community dominated by male power and sexism."

This is the view of gender equality and child welfare minister Doreen Sioka.

Speaking in the National Assembly here on Wednesday, Sioka said violence against women and children is a universal problem of epidemic proportions, but its human cost often remains invisible.

In her ministerial speech, she said survivors of this type of violence often experience life-long emotional distress, mental health problems, poor reproductive health and are at risk of contracting HIV and AIDS.

She said there are progressive, educated, and confident men, comfortable in their masculinity that can demonstrate the advocacy against gender-based violence which is a sign of strength, rather than of weakness. Swapo member of parliament Bernadette Jagger contributed to the discussions, noting that relationship violence is a key concern among women and girls from all races and education levels.

She said gender-based violence leaves scars of permanent disorder on families and victims who are affected.
Jagger further noted that there are various programmes in schools that prepare young ones to deal with issues they might come across in their lives.

She made an example of the 'Window of Hope' programme at primary school and my 'My Future is My Choice' at secondary school level which prepare learners to make informed decisions.

"This nation is sick. We are all sick as we are sitting here as long as we cannot find the root cause to GBV. We all need counselling. As parents we are sick because we cannot control our own children," she said. Defence minister Charles Namoloh however noted that it was the judiciary system that needed to be reviewed as perpetual offenders are the same people who commit crimes every year and yet are released on bail.

"The police are trying their level best to apprehend criminals but when you apprehend someone today and take them to prison, they are out tomorrow," he said.

Minister of education, arts and culture Katrina Hanse-Himarwa said the brutal killing of the two sisters is not only a tragedy for both families of the victims and the accused, but the whole nation.

She said her ministry paid the bereaved family a visit on Wednesday and plans to visit the Augustineum Secondary School to speak to the learners. Minister of health and social services Bernard Haufiku noted that there is a need for a national assessment of the psychological state of the community on a scientific basis.

He said there is a need to strengthen psychological social welfare and counselling services in all regions.

The Kauseua sisters' bodies were found in a riverbed on Friday. A teacher at Augustineum Secondary School where Jacqueline was a Grade 10 learner, was arrested for the double murder on the same day.

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