Horrific murder and rape in Rehoboth shock Namibia

Niël Terblanché

An incident during the early hours of Tuesday morning in Rehoboth where the 64-year-old Helena Wimmert was brutally raped, murdered and then robbed has sent shockwaves through Namibia.

According to Deputy Commissioner Kauna Shikwambi, the head of the Namibian Police’s Public Relations Division, the horrific crime occurred at the victim’s home in Rehoboth’s Block A sometime between midnight and 07:40.

“The victim was raped before the suspect continued to cut her throat. Her home was then ransacked for valuable items before the suspect fled into the night with his loot,” she said.

She said that the investigation into the gruesome murder resulted in the arrest of a 29-year-old man shortly after the victim’s body was discovered in her home.

The issue of rape and gender-based violence (GBV) has been a significant concern, particularly in recent years.

From 2019 to July 2022, there were around 4,000 cases of rape reported in the country, with a notable number of these cases involving women and girls. This figure highlights a persistent and troubling trend in Namibia.

In 2021 alone, the period between January and August saw nearly 700 rape cases recorded.

These statistics reflect not just a criminal issue but also a deep societal problem that impacts the physical and psychological health of the victims.

The high number of rape cases has led to various awareness campaigns and discussions about the need for more effective strategies to combat this issue.

More recently the Governor of the Erongo Region, Neville Andere announced plans to establish a regional GBV task team with different stakeholders on board.

Andre said that at least 32 percent of Namibian women are said to have experienced physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner at some point, despite commendable achievements in human rights and gender equality, Namibia still faces persistent challenges in this regard.

In 2019, a total of 711 rape cases were reported, of which 353 involved child victims. This distressing statistic reveals the extent of the crisis and the vulnerability of children in these situations.

The Namibian government and various organizations have been actively working to provide support to victims and address the root causes of such violence. Still, the continued high numbers indicate that much work remains.

These statistics stress the urgent need for comprehensive and sustained efforts to address these issues at both the societal and governmental levels.

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