At least 200 men raped

By Shallot Mohutege

AT least 200 men were raped by women as well as other men in the last four years, Confidente has established.

The men who were raped between January 2017 and August 2020 include 111 adults and 89 juveniles, statistics obtained from the Namibian Police (Nampol) reveal.

In 2017 the statistics further reveal that male rape cases were 43 with a bulk of these being those of juvenile victims mostly from the Oshikoto region.

In the year 2018 numbers show that Khomas region recorded the highest number of rape case among adult males with a cumulative total of 72 cases shared between adults and juveniles.

Last year, Otjozondjupa dominated that number closely followed by Hardap with 46 male rape cases reported. Oshana and Ohangwena recorded a total of 40 cases.

The Zambezi region and Kavango West region recorded only three cases each over the course of four years.

This year, Ohangwena tops the list of rape against men with 10 cases recorded thus far; followed by Oshana at nine.

Inspector General of Nampol, Sebastian Ndeitunga told Confidente this week that rape/ sexual abuse is all the same regardless if it is against a man or a woman, adding that society should be mindful when condemning abusers as men can also be victims of sexual abuse and gender based violence.

“The phenomenal of gender based violence against men is not outrageous like that against females, but that does not mean we should turn a blind eye when men are also faced with the same abuse. We have to condemn all types of violence, be it against women and children or against men,” stated Ndeitunga

Ndeitunga further expressed that it is uncalled for and unprofessional for any police officer not to attend to men who want to open sexual or domestic violence cases and that officers should not stigmatise any person seeking police services.

“It is misconduct if any police officer does that. Every victim of any abuse and any violence regardless of their sex or their status in society has the same right to be assisted by the police,” he stated.

Ndeitunga further urges victims of sexual abuse not to hesitate to go to the police and if they are not well attended to, they should find ways to get a hold of a higher office.

Dianne Hubbard, a Gender Advocate at the Legal Assistant Centre (LAC) expressed the same sentiment stating that Namibia’s rape law is gender-neutral and covers a variety of intimate sexual acts that take place under coercive circumstances.

“Any victim of rape – male or female, child or adult – should be treated with the utmost respect and sensitivity if they report the crime or reach out for any other help,” expressed Hubbard.

Speaking on behalf of the Monica Gender Violence Solutions, Shaanika Nashilongo said that the male rape victim statistics are actually more than those recorded, however most men opt to keep these types of happenings confidential.

“Men are embarrassed and afraid to stand in front of police officers to give this kind of information or they accept it as a cultural norm that men do not report such incidents.”

“When a boy is touched by a female older than him and he tells his mom about it; in most instances the mother or friends will tell him that he is a man, he needs to man up and not report which is part of the problem,” further stated Nashilongo.

He further expressed that men suffer in silence and there is a lot of education that needs to happen, for both men and women.

Activist Lebbeus Hashikutuva added that the same thing that drives sexual violence in women, is the same thing that drives sexual violence against men, and that is unequal power dynamics.

He added that naturally young boys face more violence than older men because they are children and have less power than the perpetrators.

“A lot of times sexual violence happens in situations where the survivor has less power and dominance than the perpetrator, so we try to challenge systems of power and challenge the nature of power in society by asking men to do better and holding men accountable,” he explained.

Hashikutuva further stated that the reaction people will have to Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) will always lean more towards women because they face way more violence than men do.