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"We Need Justice"

One year after his 10−year−old son was brutally gang−raped and assaulted, a father is still grappling with the financial strain the incident has caused his family and cannot access the urgent medical attention his child needs to begin the healing process.

"WHY did it happen to our child? Why?" asks Peter, (not real name) the father of a 10−year−old boy, who was brutally raped by three men in May last year. The father of five children is now sitting on a bench in Katutura.

"My family lives in shame and guilt. We have the feeling that we did not protect our child enough", says Peter, while nervously twisting his fingers. Together with his son Simon (not real name) and his first−born daughter, Peter moved to Katutura earlier this year. "The change of environment was good for the boy, although he has not seen his mother for almost two months now." Along with Simon's other siblings, the mother has stayed near Otjiwarongo, where the whole family used to live together. "I never expected to find myself in such a horrible situation", says the 48−year−old man and starts telling the story of his little boy.

It was on a Saturday afternoon in May last year. Simon went to watch a basketball game. On his way back, not more than 200 metres away from the basketball field, he met the perpetrators. One of them was familiar to him: it was the elder brother of his class teacher. "They convinced my boy that I had sent someone to take him home. This is how they took him. And then they went with him into a nearby forest and raped him."

According to Simon, the organiser of the crime wanted him dead afterwards. "He wanted to execute him. He said it would be better to kill him, because my boy knew who he was." After raping and beating the 10−year−old boy almost to death, they dropped Simon next to a road leading to Otjiwarongo. A car picked him up and brought him back to the village, where he received medical treatment at a nearby hospital. Almost one year after the incident, the abusers have not been arrested yet. Simon's father blames the passivity of the Namibian police. "I do not think the police are doing their best. They always tell us they are still investigating, but nothing is happening. I think they are protecting two of the perpetrators because they are well−known Namibians."

Since two of the perpetrators have not even been identified, the family lives in constant fear. "We never know who is listening to us, who stands next to us. Our mouths are shut. Our hands are tied. It is just our legs that are walking. It is a horrible situation. During the night, I cannot sleep. I am handling the case by myself. There is no support." But for his only son, Peter keeps on fighting. "I need justice to be done for the boy", the father emphasises. The feeling of insecurity is also hard on Simon. One day he went to a shop with his mother, Peter tells. She wanted to buy him some toys in order to cheer him up. The toy Simon chose was a gun. "We do not know what goes on in his head. But apparently he has no trust in the police. When it comes to his own protection, he has only trust in himself."

For Simon, it will be a long way to recovery, both physically and mentally. "My son is not healed yet. He is still bleeding and is heavily traumatised." But the family has not given up on him: "Simon is not the way he used to be. But there is a slight improvement. The change of environment and the psychological counselling at Regain Trust and the Church are good for him. He has even started talking about going back to school." For his father, this is a good sign. Before the incident last year, Simon was performing above average in school. "For his future education is our only hope. That is what we are fighting for," Peter says with a glimpse of hope in his eyes, "and perhaps he can fulfill his dream of becoming an engineer one day." Simon was an excellent student, outperforming his classmates. Now, it seems that his future is destroyed. In case you have information about this case, please report it to the police.