At the launch event for the Disarming Domestic Violence campaign, I met an amazing woman. Her name is Rosa Namises, and she is the founder and director of Women’s Solidarity Namibia (WSN), an NGO that works with women in abusive relationships. It was in this capacity that she was a panelist at the launch event. Last week she came in to the BWS office to talk with us about partnering on some aspects of the campaign, and I got to find out more about her.
Although WSN has been around since the late 1990s, Rosa has been doing this work for over 30 years. She was even a member of Parliament for a few years, and gender-based violence was the main cause that she worked on while in office. Because of her dedication, she is well-known in Namibia, and every day she gets at least one call on her cell phone from a desperate woman looking for help. She handles many of these calls personally, going to the women’s homes to talk to them, even talking with the abusive husband or boyfriend if asked to intervene. I think she is one of the bravest, kindest women I have ever met. Many of the women she helps, or their children, call her “Auntie” Rosa.
Rosa told us a sad story, the story of a woman who has been abused for many years. Recently, her husband was angry at her and he started “asking about his gun,” presumably to let her know he was thinking of using it. Rosa intervened and demanded that the husband give her the keys to the safe where the gun was being stored, and thankfully he handed them over (see what I mean about her bravery?). This woman has a good job and has the means to leave her husband, but she hasn’t managed to do it yet. We hope she can find the strength soon.
But Rosa also told us some inspiring success stories. A woman who was abused by her husband for 27 years did manage to leave him, and is now running her own construction company in Windhoek. Rosa had a big smile on her face as she told this story. But she also said that in her 30 years working with troubled families, only about 25 women have actually gotten out of their distressing situations.
Finally, she told us one more inspiring tale. She had invited the women from the support group that she runs to come to the campaign launch event. One of them did come. The next week, at the end of the support group session, this woman asked to speak. She then proceeded to teach the other group members about the link between guns and domestic violence, saying that she was going to bring the message to her home town of Khorixas and that the other women there should do the same. It was wonderful to hear that the launch inspired someone to teach others, and that the message is spreading.
Posted By Johanna Wilkie
Posted Jun 26th, 2009