GENDER RESEARCH & ADVOCACY PROJECT
GR&AP plans to release additional monographs in the future
Monograph 1: Baby-dumping and infanticide
Infanticide and baby-dumping are crimes, but these acts are also cries for help. New mothers – especially young mothers – may feel overwhelmed by the idea of parenthood. They may have difficulty coping with the drastic physical and emotional changes they are experiencing. They may be suffering from the depression sometimes brought on by the hormonal changes associated with giving birth. They may be convinced that they will be unable to provide for the child, and they may feel that there is no one they can turn to for help. They may fear the shame of having given birth outside of marriage, or they may fear that they will be unable to continue their studies. None of these feelings can excuse the abandonment or murder of a child. But they show that communities can take steps to prevent infanticide and babydumping by giving mothers support and reassurance. It is difficult to estimate the true extent of infanticide and baby-dumping in Namibia, as such cases may go unreported. However, police statistics and anecdotal information suggest that the problem is a significant one.
Monograph 2: Help Wanted: Sex Workers in Katutura, Namibia
The second monograph in the series reports on research conducted with 62 girls and women at Stand Together, a Katutura-based, non-profit organisation that offers spiritual teaching, food, clothing, and condoms to women who are or have been sex workers. The data collected is compared to a previous LAC report, Whose Body is it?: Commercial Sex Work and the Law in Namibia, which is still the largest and most comprehensive study of sex work in Namibia to date. The data shows that on average, the interviewees began sex work at the age of 16. Most have been driven into the job by financial pressures, with many having sold sex for less than N$10. The research found that 50% of these women have been forced to have sex without a condom, and that 56% have been beaten by their clients. The monograph concludes with a number of recommendations aimed at preventing such abuses, ranging from law reform to education and support for these women.
Read an article from our archive (2008): Please solicit your customers discretely - the problem of sex work in Namibia
Monograph 3: Stalking: Proposed New Legislation for Namibia
The third monograph in the seriestakes a close look at the issue of stalking. Stalking is not yet a legal term in Namibia, and the report discusses whether there is a need for new legislation to address this problem. The monograph looks at the current criminal and civil remedies which can be used to address stalking in Namibia, and compares these options to approaches used to tackle stalking in other countries. The discussion surveys the forms of behaviour that fall within the category of stalking and the impact stalking can have on the victim, and presents a compelling argument on the need for law reform in this area. A draft stalking law which could be implemented in Namibia is included as an appendix to the monograph.
Read an article written for the Ombetja Yehinga Organisation magazine Young Latest and Cool about harassment and stalking.
Monograph 4: Alcohol and Youths: Suggestions for Law Reform
Underage drinking has become a significant problem in Namibia. A Ministry of Health study on substance use amongst Namibians found that 53.5% of youths aged 13-30 use alcohol. Children are also beginning to drink at earlier and earlier ages; a 2006 UNICEF study found that in a focus group of 10-14 year olds, one in ten had already used alcohol, beginning at age 10 on average. Perhaps most worrisome of all, underage drinking appears to be on the rise. In 1992, only 19.8% of 13-16 year olds had experimented with alcohol. By 1998, that number had risen to 50%. In light of these issues, GR&AP published a monograph on suggestions for law reform to address underage drinking.
Monograph 5: Beliefs and Attitudes towards Gender, Sexuality and Traditions amongst Namibian Youth
The goal of this report is to provide information to improve educational
and social programs concerning HIV prevention, gender equality
and sexual rights. Our objective is to provide data to policymakers,
organisations, and scholars which present an in-depth understanding
of sexuality and gender amongst young people in Namibia. Learning
about young people’s attitudes and beliefs about these issues will allow
us and other professionals to identify the needs of young people in
terms of sex and gender education and the prevention of HIV/AIDS. It
will also help identify areas of potential legal and social reform.
During 2007 and 2008, 395
questionnaires were administered to 15- to 20-year-olds in rural and
urban Namibia and follow-up focus groups were conducted to gain
qualitative data relating to the issues raised in the questionnaire. The
questionnaire focused on four themes:
(1) attitudes towards traditional practices, especially those practices
related to gender, such as men as being the head of the household
(2) sexual rights, including those relating to controversial issues
such as homosexuality and reproductive rights;
(3) sexual transgressions, such as rape and sexual abuse; and
(4) attitudes towards and knowledge of sexual behaviours such as
masturbation and oral sex.
See also Unravelling Taboos