Demonstrators hit the streets of Namibia’s capital, Windhoek, to protest against gender-based violence following the brutal murder of a woman was discovered this week.
The body of Shannon Wasserfall, 22, who went missing six months ago,
was discovered in a shallow grave in Walvis Bay, according to BBC News.
Police found Wasserfall’s body after her father, Tega Mathews, shared a text message he received revealing the location of his late daughter’s remains.
Protestors gathered in the city center before marching to the Windhoek Central Police Station and Ministry of Justice on Independence Avenue, before settling outside of Namibia’s parliament building.
Shannon’s uncle Raymond Wasserfall said the demonstrations were to press for more decisive police action in Namibia in GBV and human trafficking cases.
“We will hand a petition over to the mayor. There needs to be some pressure on the police. A lot is happening – especially with human trafficking. Many women are being violated. We need change,” he said.
Gender-based violence has been a burning issue for the country. Namibian Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila revealed that police received 107,403 reports of gender-based violence between 2014 and July 2018.
Earlier this year, Hendrick Olivier, the chief inspector of the police’s Gender-based Violence Protection Unit in Windhoek, told reporters that the unit receives between 200 and 300 reports of cases under the Domestic Violence Act each month.
The statistics offering little comfort to Wasserfall’s family.
“It was devastating,” Mathews told The Namibian. “My hope was that she would be found. We hoped for the best, but also prepared for the worst …” he said.
National Unity Democratic Organisation secretary-general Joseph Kauandenge believes that the mindset that women belong to their male counterparts is the main drive behind the violence.
“Our society needs redirection and this must start with deliberate programs at primary school to rewire our young people towards a culture of treating [women] as their equals and people to be protected,” he said.
As the battle to bring Wasserfall’s killers to justice continues, local police announced on Thursday morning that a woman has been brought in for questioning in connection with her murder.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Wasserfall family.